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Chapter 3

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Amanda Uliaszek

Chapter 3: Using Data and Research Methods In Behaviour Analysis Using Data To Measure Changes  By using the data we collect, we can determine whether our efforts to change a behaviour worked  Intervention is a program or period of time in which action is taken to alter an existing situation such as a target behaviour  Baseline has two meanings: it can refer to the data collected before the intervention begins or to the period of time during which those data were collected (baseline level is the level before you tried to change it)  Would decline from the baseline if your intervention worked  Data tells us the current status and history of variables  Behaviour is a variable, and its antecedents and consequences are variables too  Baseline data gives us a representative picture of the extent or severity of the problem behaviour before the intervention begins Organizing Data  Need to organize data chronologically to see whether the behaviour has changed over time  Other ways to organize data are to use arithmetic calculations and tables  Can calculate the mean, by doing this it will smooth out the record and gives the general level of the behaviour (grouping the data by weeks is the most common approach for the mean)  Tables is a systematic arrangement of data or other information in rows and columns for easy examination, it organizes the data visually allowing us to see patterns and make comparisons in the data plainly and quickly Graphing Data  A graph is a drawing that displays variations within a set of data, typically showing how one variable changed with changes in another variable  Three types of graphs all have a horizontal axis (abscissa) ad a vertical axis (ordinate)  Vertical axis usually represents a measure of behaviour such as frequency or duration  Horizontal axis usually represents another variable, usually chronological time  Line graphs are straight lines to connect successive data points that represent the intersects of plotted values for the variables scaled along the horizontal and vertical axis  Line graphs are the most common types of graphs used in applied behaviour analysis  Bar graphs are vertically arranged rectangles to represent data points scaled along the vertical axis, the bars are usually spaced along and extend up from the horizontal axis to the appropriate point represented on the vertical axis  Cumulative graphs or a cumulative records are line graphs in which the measure of behaviour accumulates across units scaled along the horizontal axis, because the data cumulate, the graph is smoother and the line can never turn downward (the steeper the slope of the line in a cumulative graph, the higher the response rate) Preparing Graphs  For a graph to be complete it should have five components: axes, axes scaling and labels, data points, phase lines and labels (intervention and baseline) and have caption Using Graphs and Basic Research Methods  To find out why a behaviour changed, behaviour analysts use research methods that can demonstrate that changes in a target behaviour clearly resulted from the intervetions methods, rather than some other factor  Graphs can be used to assess the effectiveness of an intervention as well as to provide feedback as reinforcement for the target person during the intervention and thus increase his or her motivation  Graphic analysis is when behaviour analysts inspect graphed data to evaluate whether the behaviour changed substantially when intervention techniques were implemented  The data should show very clear, marked changes for us to conclude that an intervention was successful  Judging whether the program is working after a week or so of an intervention involves assessing two tends or general patterns of change in the behaviour over time (one trend reflects whether the behaviour improved from baselie to intervention and the second trend reflects whether the behaviour has continued to improve across time during the intervention)  Three step procedure that can make a graphic analysis clearer: 1. Calculate the means for the baseline and intervention data we want to compare 2. Place a data point on the graph for each mean halfway across the corresponding time period 3. For each time period were comparing, draw a trend line that is a straight line at best “fits” or represents all of the data points I a time period, through or very near the data point for the corresponding mean  On a graph, for a behavioural deficit, the lowest data point in baseline would have a higher value than the highest data point in intervention  For a behavioural deficit, the highest data point in baseline would be lower than the lowest data point in intervention  Difficulties in evaluating trends can arise from data problems of three types: excessive variability, decreasing baseline trend, and an increasing baseline trend  In general, whenever baseline data show excessive variability or an increasing or decreasing trend in relation to the behavioural goal, we should consider delaying the start of the intervention and collecting additional baseline data Basic Research Designs  To see why a behavioural change occurred, we conduct experiments  Applied behaviour analysis research usually single-subject designs (single-case designs) which examine behaviour of a person across time, while an intervention is either in effect or absent  Two types of variables: independent (tested for its suspected or potential influence) and dependent (is assessed to see if its value corresponds to or depends on variations in the independent variable)  * In applied behaviour analysis research, the presence or absence of an intervention is the independent variable, and the target behaviour is the dependent variable  When researchers find that a variable such as reinforcement, causes a behavioural change, they demonstrate a functional relation, that is that the behaviour changes as a function of the independent variable  The AB design is the simplest type of single subject research, consisting of one baseline phase (A) and one intervention phase (B)  Having just one baseline and one intervention phase does not allow us to rule out other factors in the person’s life that may actually be responsible for the behaviour changes observed (is only good to determine the extent to which the behaviour changed)  Reversal designs have a series of phases in which an int
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