Using Single-Case Research Methods in Sport and Exercise Psychology

Unfortunately this event is now cancelled.

Much applied work in sport and exercise psychology is conducted with small samples or individuals making it difficult to determine change through conventional group methods and analysis. Finding methods to rigorously determine change are necessary to establish consultant and researcher effectiveness. Traditionally, the evaluation of psychological skills effectiveness (i.e., interventions) in sport psychology has been determined using group (nomothetic) research designs in which groups of participants are exposed to different treatment conditions and where the performance of the treatment group is compared to that of the no-treatment control. Although appropriate at times, these designs often lack external validity, creating a substantial challenge for the practitioner and researcher to fill the science-versus-practice gap. Single-case methods are a form of ideographic research design that offer an appropriate and powerful method to fill this gap and ensure the generalisability of these findings. This workshop therefore provides delegates with information and guidance on using single-case methods in practice and research. For example, information is provided regarding behavioral assessment, general procedures in single-case research, key research designs, and data analysis procedures.

This workshop is aimed at both researchers and practitioners working with athletes or exercise participants.

Provisional timetable

09:30 Registration/Tea and Coffee
10:00 Workshop starts (there will be a break for lunch)
16:30 Workshop ends


This workshop is intended for entry level course for practitioners or students wishing to learn more about single-case research methods to determine intervention effectiveness and behavior change in applied practice and research. Non members attending would be required to hold an undergraduate degree in psychology (or related area). It may be particularly useful for those individuals undergoing stage 2 training in sport and exercise psychology for whom case studies form an important part of the portfolio.

The unique feature of single-case designs (SCD’s) is the capacity to conduct experimental investigations with one or a small number of cases. Central to the methodology is the ability to rigorously evaluate the effects of interventions with one or a small number of cases. SCD’s have therefore been applied to many research contexts including psychology, medicine, education, rehabilitation, social work, counselling, and sport psychology (Kazdin, 2011). Sport psychologists have been encouraged to use SCD’s to provide evidence-based interventions for use in applied work with sport performers. Not surprisingly, therefore, many sport psychologists also use single-case designs to justify the strength of their applied work with sport performers (Barker, McCarthy, Jones, & Moran, 2011; Hemmings & Holder, 2009; Smith, 1988). Indeed to advance applied sport psychology practice, research, and theory, sport psychologists need experimental, quasi-experimental, and non-experimental research methods. An experimental approach to evaluation might include randomised control group, quasi-experimental, or single-participant designs to show that only the intervention caused the change. Although an experimental approach ensures a study design has high internal validity, in professional practice this design is impractical, especially when you offer a service to one group of athletes and deliberately withhold that service from another group of athletes (Anderson, Miles, Mahoney, & Robinson, 2002). If the needs of one athlete are the only ones in question, then, single participant designs are practitioner-friendly in practical settings, despite these designs possibly being time-consuming and expensive (Barker et al., 2011).

Pre-course work

Learning outcomes and objectives

This workshop aims to assist delegates to demonstrate an informed knowledge of single-case research methods including:

  • General procedures and behavioural assessment
  • Research designs including multiple baseline, reversal, and changing criterion
  • Data analysis including visual, graphical, and statistical techniques
  • Assessing treatment efficacy and effectiveness including the use of social validation and the development of effective performance indicators

Facilitator: Dr Jamie Barker CPsychol & Dr Marc Jones CPsychol

Dr Jamie Barker is a Chartered Psychologist, and HCPC registered sport and exercise psychologist. He has an array of experience of working in elite sport including professional cricket, football, and golf. To this end, he currently serves as a consultant for the English and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club, Staffordshire County Cricket Club, and Nottingham Forest Football Club. A large proportion of Dr Barker's work has been based around developing sport psychology education programmes (e.g., coach, player, and parent), individual intervention programmes, and team building interventions. Dr Barker also has experience of working in business settings where he has applied sport psychology principles to leaders and managers of large corporations. The main focus of his research over recent years has been about exploring the effects of hypnosis on important psychological factors relative to sport performance. Dr Barker has both published and presented at international conferences on hypnosis.

Dr Marc Jones is a a Chartered Psychologist, and HCPC registered sport and exercise psychologist with experience of working as a consultant with a number of athletes across a range of sports ages, and abilities.  Much of this work has involved delivering training sessions to groups of athletes or teams on sport psychology. Dr Jones also has experience of delivering sessions in organisational settings on the psychology of elite performance by drawing on the principles and practice from elite sport.  As part of his practice Dr Jones has used hypnosis as an intervention and has been involved in a research programme with Dr Jamie Barker to explore the efficacy of hypnosis in enhancing confidence in sport. To date, Dr Jones has over 35 scholarly publications in sport and exercise psychology, and has published four books. Dr Jones is also the award leader for the BPS accredited distance-learning MSc in Sport and Exercise Psychology run by Staffordshire University.

Booking information


Non-Society Member: £120 (£100 + VAT)
Society Member: £96 (£80 + VAT)
DSEP Member: £72 (£60 + VAT)

From 1 January 2013:

Non-Society Member: £123 (£102.50 + VAT)
Society Member: £98 (£81.67 + VAT)
DSEP Member: £74 (£61.67 + VAT)

How to book:

Unfortunately, this event is now cancelled. 

Please note that we are only able to accept invoice requests at least 6 weeks before the event date.

Wed, 13/03/2013 (All day)
Contact Information: 


BPS Learning Centre

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 9925
Fax: +44 (0)116 227 1314

Division of Sport & Exercise Psychology & BPS Learning Centre