Research Methods in Applied Behaviour Analysis
Run by School of Educational Sciences
20.000 Credits or 10.000 ECTS Credits
Semester 1 & 2
Organiser: Dr Marguerite Hoerger
Overall aims and purpose
This optional module is intended for students taking the PGDip in ABA, and who wish to meet the coursework to quality to sit the BACB exam, but do not need to complete a full masters degree. 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.
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.
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.
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.
Evaluate experimental validity and threats to validity
Select appropriate experimental designs for different research questions
Identify the features of various single-case and group experimental designs
Apply and critically discuss the features of various single-case experimental designs
Critique research using the principles of empirically supported treatments
Identify the ethical issues involved in designing a research project
Display and analyse behavioural data
|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.
|EXAM||Research Methods in ABA final exam||
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).
Teaching and Learning Strategy
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.
A total of 39 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.
- 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
- Show originality in the application of subject specific knowledge and understanding.
- Adopt an ethically sound approach to research with children and vulnerable adults.
Resource implications for students
Students will need a computer and internet connection.
Talis Reading listhttp://readinglists.bangor.ac.uk/modules/prp-4051.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