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ABAB design

 

Explanations > Social Research > Design > ABAB design

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

ABAB design alternates treatment and non-treatment. The 'A-B' pattern can be repeated twice or multiple times.

This can test two effects:

  • That the treatment repeatedly works, and is not a 'one-off' effect.
  • Any carry-over effect of the treatment into the non-treatment zone.

In design notation, this is:

 

R O X1 O X2 O

 

Example

A 'young offenders' prison program alternates weeks of tough training with weeks of normal incarceration. This is used to study how long the tough training lasts into the following week. As the program takes effect, the 'normal' duration is increased.

Discussion

When a treatment is applied to a group it will often have some effect on whatever treatment is applied next. People make decision based on historical experience and alternating treatments will affect future action, especially if they detect the pattern of alternation and use this to predict future patterns.

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