Testing Theory and Intervention within Individuals: Theoretical issues and the use of N-of-1 and related methods of data analysis

Brief workshop overview

What: This interactive workshop will allow a venue for participants to exchange experiences with N-of-1 design and learn from each other.
Who: The workshop will be facilitated by Marie Johnston, Derek Johnston and Diane Dixon.
When: Sunday 18th to Tuesday 20st September, 2011.
Where: Hersonissos, Crete, Greece.
Accomodation: For accommodation possibilities, please check the conference website (http://www.ehps2011.com).
Food: Lunch will be provided on Sunday and Monday, and dinner on Monday only. A welcome reception will be held on Sunday evening. Refreshments will be provided during the breaks throughout the workshop.
How much: The workshop fee is €225.
Reduced fee: Participants from eligible countries listed on the EHPS registration website are entitled to a reduced fee of €112. Please note that all participants from non-eligible countries will have to pay the full fee regardless of their status.
Deadline for application: May 20st, 2011.
Notification of acceptance: May 27th, 2011.
Deadline for payment: July 1st, 2011.
Workshop grants: Two grants are available for attendants of the Synergy workshop against workshop registration, conference fee, accommodation and travel.
See the grant page for further details.

Workshop details

What is the focus?

Many theories in health psychology attempt to explain changing aspects of individuals’ behaviour and most interventions attempt to change the behaviour of individuals. So, for example, theories suggests that people’s intentions to act are determined by their current beliefs or that levels of stress are determined by their current appraisal of the environment and interventions may seek to alter these beliefs or appraisals. However theories are mostly tested in between individual studies and it can be shown that theories that apparently apply across individuals do not apply within an individual, as they should. Likewise interventions are mostly tested in randomised trials involving many participants and the applicability of the intervention to the individual participant is difficult to determine.

The topics covered will include:

  • Theory: Discussion of current theories and their use in explaining within and between person variation. The application of psychological theory to the behaviour of the individual. The workshop facilitators work in the areas of social cognition, disability and stress theory but will also draw on the expertise of the participants in other areas.
  • Intervention: N-of-1 intervention designs will be discussed, and theoretical and practical issues of such interventions presented.
  • Methods: The methods of studying the individual over time. We will emphasise the use of electronic based data capture methods such as PDAs and smartphones. Discussion of feasibility and acceptability.
  • Statistical analysis: Analysing time series data. The issues raised by n-of-1 data and current methods of analysis will be presented and explored in practical work. We will also discuss methods of analysing the differences between individuals over time in group based studies using multilevel modelling.

Who should attend?

Researchers interested in using theory and in developing methods of application and analysis at the individual level. Researchers familiar with single case methods and interested in using these methods to test theory and evaluate interventions. In this workshop we hope to attract health psychologists working both in theory and/or practice since the issues bear directly on both areas.

What will we do?

The workshop will be very interactive with at least 50% of all sessions involving active participation in practical or group work and discussion. Participants will be encouraged to bring their own research questions and methodological issues for discussion at the workshop. In addition all participants will be invited to collect data on themselves for a 8 weeks prior to the workshop to gain insight into the problems of such data collection and the data will be used to demonstrate methods of analysis at the workshop. We will use internet based methods of data collection for this. The data will not be intrusive and will relate to Karasek’s demand control theory of work stress since it is probably applicable to all participants.

The facilitators

The workshop facilitators are all experienced in n-of-1 studies and in running workshops. Marie Johnston works integrating biomedical and behavioural theories of disability and has both run and attended previous Synergy workshops. Derek Johnston conducts n-of-1 and related studies of occupational stress using EMA and psychophysiological methods, analysing data using time series and multilevel modelling. Diane Dixon runs theory-based n-of-1 intervention studies to enhance physical activity. They have experience of running workshops together.