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Contributors:
  1. Tracy Sinclair
  2. Justin Garwood

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Description: The identification of effective interventions for students identified with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD) is paramount to push the field forward and provide scientifically grounded suggestions to practitioners. Single-case experimental designs (SCED) are frequently used to evaluate whether a functional relation exists between interventions (i.e., independent variables) and student outcomes (i.e., dependent variables), with studies demonstrating evidence of an effect aggregated in an effort to identify EBPs. A critical factor in decision-making is the evaluation of graphical data, typically displayed in time-series graphs. Distortion in the graphical display of data can lead to invalid decisions on whether a functional relation exists, as well as the magnitude of an effect. The purpose of this review was to evaluate the graphical display of data from SCEDs in the field EBD. The review included 40 SCEDs, including 258 graphs, published in Behavioral Disorders and Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders over the last 10 years (2010–2019). Results suggest less than 20% of the graphs met current recommendations for graph construction in regard to y:x ratio and DPPXYR. We provide recommendations to the field on designing graphs to enhance the validity of visual analysis.

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