Measurement & Interpretation


  1. Scatter plot assignment


Identify and define a behavior. This may be a behavior that you exhibit or you can identify the behavior of a friend, family member, or colleague.


Observe and record the behavior for a total of 8 hours. The data would be reported in 15-min intervals (i.e., the number of times the behavior occurs within a 15-min interval). The x-axis would be time of day and the y-axis would be the day of the week. You can break the observation up in any way that you like. But remember that you have to have more than one data point.


For example, you could collect data for 2 hours a day for 4 days or 4 hours a day for 2 days. Choose a behavior that occurs frequently and times to observe when the behavior is more likely to occur. Choose something simple – chewing gum, smoking, drinking water, having a coffee.


Describe what you learned, if anything, from the plot.


  1. You have a goal to read 200 pages a week of information about applied behavior analysis. This may be reading you do in your textbook or it may be journal articles or any professional literature about behavior. You decide you are going to keep track of the number of pages you read for three consecutive days using a cumulative record. (NOTE: you would actually keep a record until you reached 200 pages, but I wanted to keep this manageable.) The cumulative record is a good choice because it gives you a visual picture of how close you are to the goal and also tells you when you encounter problems (i.e., when you aren’t reading, the recorder doesn’t move).


I think the best way to do that is to record each reading session. For example: Tuesday, Session 1 – 3-4 pm – 20 pages; Tuesday, Session 2 – 9-12 pm 75 pages; Wednesday, Session 3 – 6 – 9 pm 50 pages; etc. However, you may choose a method and let me know. Remember to pick something that provides enough data.


Plot these data as a cumulative record and provide the graph as well as any information I might need to be able to interpret the graph (e.g., I plotted sessions; I was unable to read on the second day because I worked all day and attended class in the evening).


If you find it difficult to use computer software to make the graph, you can do it by hand, scan it, and send it to me. I’m more interested in your understanding of the cumulative record than in whether you know how to use Excel.


Now, plot your reading data with the number of pages read across days – not as a cumulative record.


What is the difference between the graphs? Which shows your reading more clearly? Is one more motivating than the other? When would a cumulative record be the graph of choice?


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