Morgan (2009) recommends having students learn about research methods by doing a personalized behavior change project. To get students off to a good start, Morgan recommends having students choosing a behavior that is easy to operationalize, such as calories consumed, caffeine consumed, minutes exercised, or minutes studied.
Morgan has students graph baseline data for two weeks. Then, they implement the change and continue to graph their data for another two weeks. Next, students calculate the mean and the standard deviation for the baseline period.
Once students have calculated the mean and standard deviation, Morgan has students draw three additional horizontal lines through the graph: (a) a solid line that represents the mean of the baseline period, (b) a dashed line representing one standard deviation above the mean, and (c) a dashed line representing one standard deviation below the mean. Thus, the graph might look like the following:
If data in the intervention phase are more than a standard deviation away from the baseline mean, this is typically taken as evidence that the intervention worked (Morgan, 2009). However, the change may not be due to the treatment. To help students see why the change may not be due to the treatment, have them read Chapter 14--or at least pages ( 518-519). To extend the exercise-and increase their study's validity, you might have students use a reversal design (if so, have students read Chapter 14--or at least pages 515-517).
Source: Morgan, D. L. (2009). Using single-case design and personalized behavior change projects to teach research methods. Teaching of Psychology, 36, 267-269.