Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Educational Measurement and Research

Major Professor

John Ferron, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Tasha Beretvas, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Yi-Hsin Chen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Eun Sook Kim, Ph.D.


Multilevel modeling, Single-case, Non-normality, ReML, MCMC


In single-case research, multiple-baseline (MB) design is the most widely used design in practical settings. It provides the opportunity to estimate the treatment effect based on not only within-series comparisons of treatment phase to baseline phase observations, but also time-specific between-series comparisons of observations from those that have started treatment to those that are still in the baseline. In MB studies, the average treatment effect and the variation of these effects across multiple participants can be estimated using various statistical modeling methods. Recently, two types of statistical modeling methods were proposed for analyzing MB studies: a) within-series model and b) between-series model. The within-series model is a typical two-level multilevel modeling approach analyzing the measurement occasions within a participant, whereas the between-series model is an alternative modeling approach analyzing participants’ measurement occasions at certain time points, where some participants are in the baseline phase and others are in the treatment phase. Parameters of both within- and between-series models are generally estimated with restricted maximum likelihood (ReML) estimation and ReML is developed based on the assumption of normality (Hox, et al., 2010; Raudenbush & Bryk, 2002). However, in practical educational and psychological settings, observed data may not be easily assumed to be normal. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to investigate the robustness of analyzing MB studies with the within- and between-series models when level-1 errors are non-normal. A Monte Carlo study was conducted under the conditions where level-1 errors were generated from non-normal distributions in which skewness and kurtosis of the distribution were manipulated. Four statistical approaches were considered for comparison based on theoretical and/or empirical rationales. The approaches were defined by the crossing of two analytic decisions: a) whether to use a within- or between-series estimate of effect and b) whether to use REML estimation with Kenward-Roger adjustment for inferences or Bayesian estimation and inference. The accuracy of parameter estimation and statistical power and Type I error were systematically analyzed. The results of the study showed the within- and between-series models are robust to the non-normality of the level-1 error variance. Both within- and between-series models estimated the treatment effect accurately and statistical inferences were acceptable. ReML and Bayesian estimations also showed similar results in the current study. Applications and implications for applied and methodology researchers are discussed based on the findings of the study.