Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


38th Annual Convention; Seattle, WA; 2012

Event Details

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Symposium #30
CE Offered: BACB
A Critical Examination of Graphical Presentation Practices in Behavior Analysis
Saturday, May 26, 2012
1:00 PM–2:20 PM
204 (TCC)
Area: PRA; Domain: Theory
Chair: Kerri L. Milyko (Precision Teaching Learning Center)
Discussant: Douglas E. Kostewicz (University of Pittsburgh)
CE Instructor: Richard M. Kubina Jr., Ph.D.

Behavior analysts analyze and interpret data as well as construct, communicate, and defend claims of knowledge with data graphics. While behavior analysts do use other inscription devices, such as tables, visual analysis of data serves as the linchpin of the science of behavior. From Skinner to contemporary behavior analysts, researchers and practitioners mostly rely on time series data graphics such as the line graph. With so much analytical and communicative power invested in line graphs behavior analysts must consider how to construct and use different types of line graphs that effect their verbal behavior. This symposium examines different aspects of presenting time series data and suggests behavior analysis pay greater attention to for the most critical practices behavior analysts engage in.

An Initial Survey of Fractional Graph and Table Area in Behavioral Journals
DOUGLAS E. KOSTEWICZ (University of Pittsburgh), Richard M. Kubina Jr. (The Pennsylvania State University)
Abstract: This study examined the fractional graph area (FGA), the proportion of page space used to display statistical graphics, in 11 behavioral journals and places behavior analysis on a continuum with other natural, mathematical, and social science disciplines. The composite FGA of all 11 journals puts behavior analysis within the range of the social sciences, whereas the composite FGA of the most established and preeminent behavioral journals positions behavior analysis within the range of the natural sciences. In addition, fractional table area (FTA), the proportion of page space used to display tables, generally is higher in behavioral journals with lower degrees of FGA, a result that replicates previous research.

A Critical Review of Time-Series Graphics in Behavior Analytic Journals

DOUGLAS E. KOSTEWICZ (University of Pittsburgh), Richard M. Kubina Jr. (The Pennsylvania State University)

One may argue that the genesis and continued practice of all forms of behavior analysis (e.g., applied, basic, philosophical) rest upon the foundation of the careful examination of data graphics, mainly time series graphics. Time series graphics derive their name from their construction; a time series scale on the horizontal axis expresses a unit of time and some type of quantitative scale on the vertical axis shows time progressing from left to right. A quick survey of important books on behavioral research show that prominent experimental designs use time series graphics, mainly the simple line chart (e.g., Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2007; Hersen & Barlow, 1976; Kazdin, 2011; Kennedy, 2005; Kratochwill, 1978; Kratochwill & Levin, 1992; Poling & Fuqua, 1986; Sidman, 1960). However, the guidelines for constructing line charts appear in very few publications. Furthermore, the field of behavior analysis does not have agreed-upon standards for line chart construction. As a result of number of systematic errors occur in published line charts. This presentation shares the results of survey examining 11 prominent behavioral journals and their graphical practices in regards to line chart usage.


Arithmetic and Semilogarithmic or Ratio Line Charts: A Comparison of Visual Displays

RICHARD M. KUBINA JR. (The Pennsylvania State University)

Line graphs or charts have two forms, arithmetically and semilogarithmically scaled. Behavior analysts make scant use of semilogarithmic charts and use, almost exclusively, arithmetically scaled charts. As a scientific discipline Behavior Analysis would benefit from an informed explication of each data graphic. Other sources do exist which describe different types of graphics, including line charts, and explain how behavior analysts can use them (e.g., Cooper, Heron & Heward, 2007; Parsonson & Baer, 1978). Comparing and contrasting the structure, hallmark characteristics and limitations of arithmetically and semilogarithmically scaled line charts, however, has yet to occur. Therefore, the present paper asks the following questions. What design attributes guide the construction of arithmetically and semilogarithmically scaled line chart? What purpose does the arithmetically and semilogarithmically scaled line chart serve? How do the technical features and purposes of line charts serve a science of behavior and the behavior analysts who use them? The research questions will not only provide a detailed comparison of the purposes of arithmetic and semilogarithmic line charts but will also offer advantages or disadvantages for behavior analysts conducting visual analysis with time series data.




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