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.


46th Annual Convention; Washington DC; 2020

Event Details

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Symposium #463
CE Offered: BACB — 
Ethical Behavior Analysis: A Guide to Being an Evidence-Based Practitioner
Monday, May 25, 2020
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
Marriott Marquis, Level M4, Independence A-C
Area: TBA/PCH; Domain: Translational
Chair: Audrey N. Hoffmann (Northern Vermont University)
CE Instructor: Audrey N. Hoffmann, Ph.D.

Evidence-based practice (EBP) is a commonly used term in the field of applied behavior analysis (ABA); however, disagreement or misunderstanding regarding what EBP is and how to engage in evidence-based decision making persist. In this symposium, we will attempt to clarify the definition of EBP in ABA and we will discuss the role that EBP plays in different domains of ABA and ethical practice. First, Dr. Bethany Contreras will discuss the definition of EBP and will offer specific suggestions on how practitioners can use EBP to guide their decision making. Next, Dr. Audrey Hoffmann will discuss how EBP may be embedded within coursework and supervision in order to improve ethical decision-making in novice behavior analysts. Finally, Dr. Shanun Kunnavatana will discuss challenges to EBP in clinical practice, and potential solutions to promote EBP.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

Practicing BCaBAs, BCBAs, supervising BCBAs, and behavior analysts involved in higher education and the training of BCBAs.

Learning Objectives: Attendees will be able to: 1. Define Evidence Based Practice (EBP) of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and describe the three components comprising EBP of ABA. 2. Identify ethical codes aligned with the EBP of ABA 3. Identify general strategies for engaging in EBP as part of ethical behavior analytic practice 4. Identify strategies for including EBP in teaching and training of novice behavior analysts 5. Identify barriers and potential solutions for engaging in EBP in clinical practice.
An Introduction to Engaging in Evidence-Based Practice
BETHANY P. CONTRERAS YOUNG (Middle Tennessee State University ), Audrey N. Hoffmann (Northern Vermont University), Timothy A. Slocum (Utah State University)
Abstract: Evidence-based practice of ABA has been defined as “…a decision-making process that integrates (a) the best available evidence with (b) clinical expertise and (c) client values and context” (Slocum et al, 2014; p. 44). While several articles and books discuss the importance of EBP for ABA, there is limited information on how a practicing behavior analyst can purposefully engage in EBP. In this presentation, we will discuss the definition of EBP for ABA and will offer suggestions as to behaviors practitioners can engage in to ensure that they are engaging in EBP. We will present specific suggestions for how behavior analysts can ensure that they are using the best available evidence to guide decisions, how to build and maintain clinical expertise, and how to incorporate client values and context into the ethical decision-making process that is EBP.

Evidence-Based Practice as a Framework for Training Novice Behavior Analysts

AUDREY N. HOFFMANN (Northern Vermont University)

EBP provides a useful framework for teaching decision-making skills and ethical practice to novice behavior analysts. This presentation will provide a brief introduction to EBP and go over the importance of including EBP within training programs for behavior analysts (both in higher education and in supervised practice). Suggestions for embedding EBP into course sequences and supervision practices will be provided as well as discussing potential barriers to training a complex behavioral repertoire such as ethical evidence-based decision-making. The presentation will highlight the importance of novice behavior analysts basing decisions on the best available research evidence, considering the client values and context, and improving and appropriately utilizing their clinical expertise as behavior analysts.


Challenges of Evidence-Based Practice in Clinical Practice

(Service Delivery)

Ethical and effective practice requires behavior analysts to be able to make complex decisions that evaluate not only the evidence for certain interventions but also determine whether critical components of the intervention will be possible given an individual’s context and values, as well as those of other stakeholders involved. This approach requires behavior analysts to be both analytical and flexible in their decision making. Although, EBP provides a framework for navigating these decisions, the process is often perceived as daunting and not utilized to its full potential. This presentation discusses the potential reasons why EBP is not yet common in clinical practice and how individuals and organizations may overcome some of the challenges to move toward EBP and better clinical decision making.




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Modifed by Eddie Soh