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Single Subject Research And Applications

Course Code: DACS 4123
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 Weeks
Learning Format: Lecture, Online, Hybrid
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course builds upon 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:

  • Professional ethics and social validity are fundamental to the field of ABA.
  • Behaviour analysts employ a scientific approach to the study of human behavior and avoid pseudo- and anti-scientific approaches.
  • The field of ABA is predicated on research employing single-subject research designs.
  • The collection and interpretation of data underscore all aspects of ABA.
  • Assessing and changing problem behaviour is achieved via a functional and not a structural analysis of behaviour.
  • Changing dimensions of behaviour are the result of manipulating antecedent and consequence stimuli.
  • Setting generalization, response generalization, and response maintenance are considered prior to developing behaviourally-based interventions.
  • Skinner’s (1957) analysis of verbal behaviour emphasized a functional approach to language acquisition and maintenance.

Methods of Instruction

  • 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, and literature review

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Define and apply the ethical framework in which the behaviour analyst works

2. Differentiate data collection methods including distinguishing methods of measuring occurrence and dimensions

3. Differentiate science from pseudo- and anti-science approaches to working with people with developmental disabilities and apply the components of the scientific method to single subject experimental designs:

  • Distinguish key terms including baseline, baseline logic, and stable/steady state responding
  • Outline pros and cons of group designs.
  • Outline pros and cons of single-subject designs including alternating treatment design, changing criterion design, multiple baseline (including multiple probe and nonconcurrent) design, and reversal design

4. Display data and offer interpretations via visual analysis:

  • Construct equal-interval, bar, cumulative and scatterplot graphs
  • Calculate split middle, and quarter-intersect lines of progress

5. Construct methods to assess procedural integrity and competency based training:

  • Identify factors that confound internal validity including subject, setting, and measurement confounds
  • Identify factors that lead to independent variable confounds including treatment integrity and treatment drift
  • Identify factors that influence external validity including direct and systematic replications
  • Identify threats to measurement accuracy and reliability

6. Implement and evaluate various antecedent and teaching strategies:

  • Define, differentiate, and offer applied examples of establishing and abolishing operations, ecological strategies, setting events, and the matching law
  • Develop interventions with consideration to generalization and maintenance.

7. Summarize Skinner’s Verbal Behavior (1957) text and its application to teaching language.

course prerequisites

Courses listed here must be completed prior to this course:

  • DACS 4122


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:

  • Equivalent to DACS 5123

curriculum 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 schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.