There are a number of research options for treatment-oriented chiropractors who wish to examine and publish important clinical observations. These options include the case study and the single case experiment.
The case study is flexible. This in-depth strategy can investigate unusual conditions, innovative treatments or theoretically-derived hypotheses. Case study procedures include a selection of variables on which to focus, a data collection procedure, and a method of analysis of the observations and impressions.
The single case experiment is narrower in scope than the case study. Only a few variables are examined. Typically, a time-series design is used to determine change before and after treatment. The reversal (A-B-A) design is commonly used enabling the researcher to assess a patient before treatment, after introducing the treatment, and after the treatment has been withdrawn.
In order to systematically determine what is already known and what questions still need to be researched, it is important to replicate findings, evaluate change, and communicate findings to other chiropractors in order to build a robust body of knowledge based on clinical findings. Single subject research designs provide a viable means for doing this.