Behavioural measurement and methods in research and practice
Run by School of Educational Sciences
60.000 Credits or 30.000 ECTS Credits
Semester 1 & 2
Organiser: Dr Marguerite Hoerger
Overall aims and purpose
This module is comprised of both taught content and a thesis. The module aims to provide an understanding of experimental validity and its relationship to experimental design in behaviour analysis. It provides an overview of single-subject designs, group designs, data collection techniques and analysis, evaluation of research evidence and graphing data. The aim of the module is to prepare students for data analysis and experimental design vital to clinical work and research. In this module, students will apply their measurement and methods knowledge to their thesis. Students will gain an understanding of how research is conducted and managed. Students will also learn the importance of and gain experience with verbally communicating their research.
The module will cover content from the BCBA Task list (5th edition). The content is from Section 1: Foundations, Content Areas C and D.
1 Establish operational definitions of behavior. 2 Distinguish among direct, indirect, and product measures of behavior. 3. Measure occurrence (e.g., frequency, rate, percentage). 4. Measure temporal dimensions of behavior (e.g., duration, latency, interresponse time). 5 Measure form and strength of behavior (e.g., topography, magnitude). 6 Measure trials to criterion. 7 Design and implement sampling procedures (i.e., interval recording, time sampling). 8 Evaluate the validity and reliability of measurement procedures. 9 Select a measurement system to obtain representative data given the dimensions of behavior and the logistics of observing and recording. 10 Graph data to communicate relevant quantitative relations (e.g., equal-interval graphs, bar graphs, cumulative records). 11 Interpret graphed data. 12 Distinguish between dependent and independent variables. 13 Distinguish between internal and external validity. 14 Identify the defining features of single-subject experimental designs (e.g., individuals serve as their own controls, repeated measures, prediction, verification, replication). 15 Describe the advantages of single-subject experimental designs compared to group designs. 16 Use single-subject experimental designs (e.g., reversal, multiple baseline, multielement, changing criterion). 17 Describe rationales for conducting comparative, component, and parametric analyses.
Comprehensive and accurate application of behavioural concepts to applied problems. • Depth of insight into theoretical and applied issues. • Evidence of thorough understanding of and/or original insights as to the potential applications of the project. • Coherent arguments, with accurate and succinct synthesis and original interpretation. • Clear structure and no irrelevant material. • Strong experimental design, data collection, and data analysis. • Thorough yet concise review of the relevant the literature. • Exceptional integration and interpretation of project and results with the relevant literature. • The communication style will be precise and concise with very few typographical or other errors. • There will be comprehensive referencing of primary source material where appropriate.
Threshold 50 – 59%
Adequate demonstration of behaviour-analytic skills but little in depth analyses. • Coherent arguments, but limited synthesis or original interpretation. • Weak or poor-fit experimental design, data collection, and data analysis. • Adequate but superficial review of the relevant literature. • Appropriate integration of project with the relevant literature. • Appropriate interpretation of results with the relevant literature.
Good 60 - 69%
Reasonably comprehensive application of behaviour analytic concepts to clinical practice. • Some basic understanding of the potential applications of the project. • Some original interpretation. • Some evidence of extensive and thorough study • The communication style will be acceptable with likely some fairly minor typographical or other errors. • There will be good referencing of primary source material where appropriate. • Adequate knowledge of some key concepts. • Weaknesses in understanding of theoretical issues with multiple/major factual errors. • Limited evidence of critical analysis and evaluation of theory and research. • Arguments are weak or underdeveloped, with little synthesis or original interpretation. • • Weaknesses in experimental design, data collection, or data analysis. • Incomplete or superficial review of the relevant literature. • Weak integration and interpretation of results with the relevant literature.
Evaluate experimental validity and threats to validity
Identify the ethical issues involved in designing a research project
Apply and critically discuss the features of various single-case experimental designs
Display and analyse behavioural data
Conceptualise a research or clinical problem in behavioural terms and design a methodology to test a hypothesis.
Evaluate findings critically and communicate them in both lay and technical report.
Conduct a project underpinned by behavioural methods demonstrating planning and commitment to socially significant outcomes.
Identify the features of various single-case and group experimental designs
Select appropriate experimental designs for different research questions
Critique research using the principles of empirically supported treatments
You will be given 24 hours to complete an open book exam, which will include 1 long answer question (650-850 words), 2 short answer questions (250-500 words each), and one question requiring a graphing and analysis task (250-500 words).
Students will collaborate with supervisor to complete an independent research project. The dissertation will consist of a literature review, method section, results, and discussion. It is anticipated that students will spend approximately 20 hours collecting and/or analysing data for the dissertation. The dissertation will be written in the form of a peer reviewed paper.
|ESSAY||Study design and critique||
You will be given an applied research scenario and asked to design a study using an appropriate single-case experimental design. You should consider all relevant methodological, practical, and ethical issues in your study design. You will then critically discuss your proposed study using the dimensions of the Scientific Merit Rating Scale.
Teaching and Learning Strategy
Students will be expected to complete the given readings and prepare for any in-class activities. Private study will also include exam preparation.
A total of 36 hours of lectures will be delivered in an asynchronous format over 6 weeks. The module will be split into two blocks and run over two semesters.
Students will either complete a research project or a clinical skills project. Clinical skills projects are completed in pairs. If completing a research project , the student will design and implement a study in the field of behaviour analysis (empirical study, or systematic , data-based review). They will help to apply for ethical approval, design the data collection method, collect the data, and analyse the data. Students will be required to review the literature to inform their study, and attend any other meetings or trainings required in applied settings in which their research will be conducted (e.g., induction, staff meetings). Clinical skills projects will be conducted in applied settings, in which students will be allocated a client and needed piece of clinical work for that client. They will help to design the data collection method, collect the data, and analyse the data. Students will be required to review the literature to inform their work, and attend any other meetings or trainings required (e.g., induction, staff meetings).
Dissertation supervision sessions will be conducted individually and as a group (supervision time divided equally between individual and group supervision). Supervision will occur both onsite in the settings, and off-site (i.e., office-based).
Synchronous seminars will be conducted for 1.5 hours a week for 6 weeks. Students will be able to choose between in person seminars and remote seminars. Seminars will be used to help students consolidate the information they have learned during lectures.
- Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
- Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
- Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
- Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
- Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
- Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
- Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
- Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
- Safety-Consciousness - Having an awareness of your immediate environment, and confidence in adhering to health and safety regulations
- Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
- Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
- Mentoring - Able to support, help, guide, inspire and/or coach others
- Caring - Showing concern for others; caring for children, people with disabilities and/or the elderly
- Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
- Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
- Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
- Leadership - Able to lead and manage, develop action plans and objectives, offer guidance and direction to others, and cope with the related pressures such authority can result in
Subject specific skills
- Understand the scientific underpinnings of psychology as a discipline.
- Communicate psychological concepts effectively in written form.
- Communicate psychological concepts effectively in oral form.
- Be computer literate for the purpose of processing and disseminating psychological data and information.
- Retrieve and organise information effectively.
- Handle primary source material critically.
- Engage in effective teamwork for the purpose of collaborating on psychological projects.
- Be sensitive and react appropriately to contextual and interpersonal psychological factors.
- Use effectively personal planning and project management skills.
- Work effectively under pressure (time pressure, limited resources, etc) as independent and pragmatic learners.
- Problem-solve by clarifying questions, considering alternative solutions, making critical judgements, and evaluating outcomes.
- Reason scientifically and demonstrate the relationship between theory and evidence.
- Understand and investigate the role of brain function in all human behaviour and experience.
- Carry out empirical studies by operationalizing research questions, generating hypotheses, collecting data using a variety of methods, analysing data using quantitative and/or qualitative methods, and present and evaluate research findings (under appropriate supervision).
- Comprehend and use psychological data effectively, demonstrating a systematic knowledge of the application and limitations of various research paradigms and techniques.
- Use a range of statistical methods with confidence.
- Employ evidence-based reasoning and examine practical, theoretical and ethical issues associated with the use of different methodologies, paradigms and methods of analysis in psychology.
- Use a variety of psychological tools, including specialist software, laboratory equipment and psychometric instruments.
- Be aware of ethical principles and approval procedures.
Resource implications for students
Students must be able to provide their own transport to and from the setting in which their research is being conducted. Students must pay for their own DBS check.
Talis Reading listhttp://readinglists.bangor.ac.uk/modules/prp-4050.html
Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2020). Applied Behavior Analysis (3rd ed.). Pearson.
Gast, D. L., & Ledford, J. R. (2018). Single case research methodology: Applications in special education and behavioral sciences (3rd edition). Routledge. – second edition available via library, but upgrading to third edition would be ideal
Morgan, D. L., & Morgan, R. K. (2009). Single -case research methods for the behavioural and health sciences. Sage. – already available via library website (Sage research methods online)
Riley-Tillman, T. C., & Burns, M. K. (2009). Evaluating educational interventions: Single-case design
for measuring response to intervention. The Guildford Press - already available via library
Courses including this module
Compulsory in courses:
- C8EC: MSc Applied Behaviour Analysis year 1 (MSC/APPBA)