Thursday, March 03, 2011

Stephen & Elliott (2011), “Developing the Adjudicated Case Study“

Entry for 3 March 2011:

Commentary on a Commentary: For the past several years Dan Fishman, editor of Pragmatic Case Studies in Psychotherapy, has been trying to get me to submit one of our HSCED studies to his online journal. For various reasons, we’ve been unable to accommodate him. However, last Fall he made me an offer I couldn’t refuse: the opportunity to write a commentary on two adjudicated case study projects, one from Ron Miller and his team, and the other from Art Bohart and colleagues. I asked Susan Stephen, one of my PhD students to work with me on this, because she has a special interest in the topic and is doing her PhD research on the HSCED method.

When the package of 10 articles arrived at the end of this past December, however, we realized that we’d gotten a bit more than we’d bargained for. There was a lot of material get through! However, we dived into the papers and were able to work our way through them. In the process, Susan got considerably ahead of me and ended up writing the bulk of the paper, so I was very pleased for her to be first author. Actually, I thought she did a great job, although I was able to earn my keep by adding several sections and contributing bits here and there, especially on the history. In the process I think we produced a very useful paper discussing issues about the implementation of adjudicated case study methods that we hadn’t seen discussed before. This paper, along with the rest of this issue of PCSP, now becomes required reading for everyone involved in HSCED and other adjudicated case study methods, or even just contemplating using this method.

Abstract: In this commentary we discuss Miller’s Panel of Psychological Inquiry (PPI) and Bohart’s Research Jury method approaches to the development of the adjudicated case study method, as represented by the papers assembled for this issue of Pragmatic Case Studies in Psychotherapy. In our view, the case studies presented here demonstrate the rapidly developing potential offered by this approach for psychotherapy research and reveal many parallels to recent research using the Hermeneutic Single Case Efficacy Design (HSCED) model. In our view, each of the three models has taken significant steps forward in adapting particular aspects of the legal process as viable psychotherapy research procedures. In this commentary we summarize the HSCED method, then take readers through the issues of the sources of the evidence used; ways in which that evidence is tested; claims, burden and standard of proof; and the handling of the adjudication process itself. We conclude with recommendations for further development of adjudicated case study methods.

Reference: Stephen, S., & Elliott, R. (2011). Developing the Adjudicated Case Study Method. Pragmatic Case Studies in Psychotherapy, 7(1), 230-241. Available online at:

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