View Full Version : single individual/subject design in human movement science

Nick Flyger
10-10-2004, 12:39 PM
To the list members,

I am a Masters student at the Otago University School of Physical Education, my
research involves using start blocks instrumented with load cells to carry out inverse
dynamics on the sprint start. I intend to analyse the individual performance of elite
athletes using single individual/subject design. This will involve regression of average
torques computed over different phases for each sprinter. The analysis is based on the
work presented by Hay et al. (1979) on performance analysis of the standing jump.

I was hoping to generate discussion about the use of single individual design in human
movement studies. I believe it is an extremely useful tool, possibly the only tool to truly
analyse performance with. I have illustrated one issue below but would look forward to
hearing any other points of discussion.

However, I recognise that it has some perceived limitations, while I believe careful
design can control for most, the question of serial dependence in the data is still unclear
to me.

It has been proposed that Repeated Measures ANOVA is not a suitable statistical tool
because the response of a participant can be considered an independent random
number generator (Bates et al., 2004). While others suggest that repeated measures is
suitable because, if no correlation exists, the data is not corrected (Reboussin &
Morgan, 1996).

I am inclined to think (at least for researching the sprint start) that repeated measures is
suitable because my athlete will tire if the session is too long and I have observed that
starts performed early in the session are slower than those latter in the session (until
they tire).

I have included the two references for anyone interested; Bates et al. (2004) also
provides a large reference list at the end of the chapter. I also have electronic copies of
two articles from Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise that provide a reasonable

Bates, B. T., James, C. R., & Dufek, J. S. (2004). Single Subject Analysis. In N.
Stergiou (Ed.), Innovative analysis of human movement. Champaign, Ill: Human

Reboussin, , D. M., & Morgan, T. M. (1996). Statistical considerations in the use and
analysis of single-subject designs. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise., 28(5), 639-


Nick Flyger
Assistant Lecturer and Masters Candidate
Otago University School of Physical Education
Dunedin, New Zealand


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