Background to the development of the SCRIBE 2016

In 2009, a group of experts in the field of medical N-of-1 research met to find consensus on minimum reporting standards for intervention research designs involving a single patient. This effort resulted in the development of the CONSORT extension for N-of-1 trials (CENT 2015).

In that CENT meeting, a need for reporting guidelines for single case research designs used in the behavioural sciences was identified.

With the support of the CENT group, a Sydney-based working party embarked on the journey to develop reporting guidelines that specifically relate to the reporting of single-case experimental designs in the fields of clinical psychology, special education, neuropsychology, sport psychology, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, physiotherapy, social work, and other related disciplines. The development process was was conducted in accordance with the procedures outlined in Moher 2010. For details, please read the SCRIBE 2016 Statement.

A 13-person Steering Committee was established, and a Sydney working party commenced the coordinating activities that were to follow.

In 2011, a Delphi survey was conducted with the aim to identify items which reflect the most important aspects of a single-case research report. Methodologists and content experts provided their opinions about the importance of each potential checklist item included in the Delphi survey. The items referred to different aspects contained in a single-subject research report, including the title and abstract, the introduction, the methods utilised, the outcomes of the study, and the discussion of findings.

The information provided during the Delphi exercise formed the basis for discussion during a consensus conference in Sydney in December 2011. At the consensus conference, items were refined and/or amalgamated in accordance with the Delphi results. At the end of the process, a final 26-item checklist was endorsed by the conference attendees.

The SCRIBE group of authors then produced the SCRIBE 2016 Statement and the Explanation and Elaboration (E&E) documents to accompany the Checklist items, with further input from the Steering Committee members.

The Editors of Archives of Scientific Psychology agreed to take on a co-ordinating role for the co-publication process, thus ensuring the wide dissemination of the SCRIBE 2016 across various disciplines within the behavioural sciences.