Foundational Principles and Empirical Basis of Behaviour Analysis

Applied Community Studies
Disability & Community Studies
Course Code
DACS 4122
Semester Length
15 Weeks
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
This undergraduate course will introduce students to the science of applied behaviour analysis (ABA). Concepts include ABA definitions and characteristics, behavioural assessments, intervention strategies and outcomes, behaviour change procedures and systems support. All topics will be addressed within the context of current best practices and contemporary professional ethics.
Course Content

The following global ideas guide the design and delivery of this course:

  • The philosophy of behaviourism is grounded in observable facts.
  • The overarching goal of ABA is to enrich the quality of people’s lives.
  • Before implementing behavioural principles and procedures on others, students of behaviour analysis should first be able to identify behavioural principles and procedures in their own everyday behaviour.
    • Students employ direct observation methods to collect data on their own everyday behaviour
    • Students relate the causes of their own behaviour as embedded within environmental events.
    • A personal understanding of ABA procedures and their effects on individuals informs subsequent professional ethical practice.
  • Contemporary best-practice behaviour analysis is predicated on: 
    • Peer-reviewed, evidenced-based research
    • Interventions that are thoroughly individualized via detailed assessment processes
    • A contextual “Goodness of Fit” with families, schools and other clients
    • Contemporary professional ethics
  • Applied behaviour analysis is the most evidenced supported clinical methodology for individuals with disabilities.
Learning Activities
  • Lecture, discussion boards, video, guest speakers, group activities, readings, self-directed online learning
  • Online: any combination of online methods such as but not limited to discussion boards, readings, video, video lectures, skype/telephone consultations etc.
Means of Assessment

This is a Graded course. Course assessment may include the following: Class participation, class presentation, quizzes, exams, fluency test, literature review

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Articulate the philosophical foundation of behavior analysis including assumptions, dimensions, and goals 
  2. Ethically select and operationally define behaviours in need of change. 
  3. Define, differentiate, and provide everyday examples of behavioural concepts, principles, and procedures including reinforcement and punishment (and their schedules), extinction, shaping, chaining, contingency contracting, token economy, and group contingencies.
  4. Conduct mock functional assessments using indirect, direct, and experimental procedures.
  5. Develop individualized interventions using reinforcement and extinction procedures
  6. Articulate situations in which aversive procedures may and may not be ethically appropriate, best-practice, and clinically warranted procedures.
  7. Summarize single subject research and visually analyze single-subject data including comparison, withdrawal/reversal, and multiple baseline designs.
  8. Identify data collection methods and accurately collect data using event, outcome, interval, and time sample recordings.
  9. Plot data and make data-based decisions using the standard celeration chart.
Textbook Materials

Textbooks and materials to be purchased by students. Consult the Douglas College Bookstore for the latest required textbooks and materials. Examples of textbooks and materials include individually assigned readings and/or books.



Courses listed here must be completed prior to this course:

  • No prerequisite courses


Courses listed here must be completed either prior to or simultaneously with this course:

  • No corequisite courses


Courses listed here are equivalent to this course and cannot be taken for further credit:

  • No equivalent courses

Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for DACS 4122
Coast Mountain College (CMTN) No credit
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) No credit
Selkirk College (SELK) No credit
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU PSYC 3XX (3)
University Canada West (UCW) UCW SOSC 4XX (3)
University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC SOSC 4XX (3)
Yorkville University (YVU) YVU GES 3XXX (3)

Course Offerings

Summer 2023