Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Jessaca Spybrook

Second Advisor

Dr. Edward B. Applegate

Third Advisor

Dr. William G. Rantz


Single case research designs, digital instrumentation, analog instrumentation, aviation safety, human factors


The purpose of this three-paper dissertation is to examine the potential of single case research designs (SCDs) as an appropriate and efficient experimental design for use in applied aviation research. In the current environment of dwindling resources, funding for experiments requiring large sample sizes, a normal requirement for between-group designs, is becoming difficult to find. However, the need to improve safety within the aviation industry is an ongoing requirement, especially as advances in technology continue have an impact on how the industry operates. SCDs are experimental designs that require very few participants and therefore have the potential to save time and associated costs.

The first paper reviews published articles in three prominent journals to determine the types of experimental and quasi-experimental designs commonly used in applied aviation research and to compute a post hoc statistical power analysis for each experiment. The review shows that between-group experimental and quasi-experimental designs dominated applied aviation research and most designs lacked statistical power to detect medium and small effect sizes. SCDs were introduced as efficient alternative designs for many applied aviation studies.

The objective of the second paper is to examine if the results from an SCD produced similar findings to those in the between group designs. To do this, a betweengroup experiment was replicated using a SCD. The results from the SCD and betweengroup experiment were similar. However, a cost analysis suggests the multiple baseline design (MBD), the specific type of SCD used, is more cost effective.

The purpose of paper three is to compare two different types of SCDs, the MBD and a combined design, which combined the MBD with a standard SCD, known as the ABAB design. An applied aviation experiment was replicated to compare the two designs in terms of, internal and external validity, visual and statistical results, and cost. The comparison suggests that the results were similar, and that internal and external validity may be improved by the replication of phases in the combined design. However, the improvements came with a considerable increase in cost of resources and time.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access