This course focuses on the experimental evaluation of behavioral interventions through the systematic manipulation of independent variables to analyze their effects on treatment. The application and practical and ethical considerations are discussed in depth for each of the following single-subject experimental designs: (a) multiple baselines, (b) changing criterion, (c) alternating treatments, and (d) withdrawal designs. Additionally, component and parametric analyses are discussed.
Students attend weekly classes and will conduct two individual behavioral research projects that analyze data according to 2 different experimental designs studied in this course. Both projects need to include a rationale for the selection of the design, clear analysis and interpretation of the results, a clear depiction of behavioral data using tables and graphs, a rationale for the selected measurement system, and a statement of how the selected design helps advance our understanding of an important behavioral question.
Specific competencies covered in this course:
- Experimental evaluation of interventions
- Measurement of behavior & displaying and interpreting data
Within the context of understanding how to conduct applied research in clinical and educational settings, the course has the following major objectives:
- Understand the logic underlying experimental control in small N designs in clinical and educational research.
- Learn how to operationally define target behaviors for study
- Identify appropriate independent variable and dependent variables for the study
- Learn about internal, external, and social validity and threats to the design/intervention
- Understand measurement and sampling issues applicable to treatment research in applied settings.
- Understand reversal, alternating treatments, changing criterion, multiple baselines, and simultaneous treatment design
- Calculate reliability measures.
- Understand and calculate effect sizes. Understand the applicable statistics formulas for single-case time-series designs.
- Understand internal and external validity confounds in single case versus group designs.
- Design and critique small N experiments in a form and quality appropriate for journal review.