Strategies and Tactics of Behavioral Research

Strategies and Tactics of Behavioral Research

Strategies and Tactics of Behavioral Research

Strategies and Tactics of Behavioral Research

Synopsis

A major revision of the original work, this volume examines all of the basic methodological issues involved in measuring behavior, designing comparisons of control and experimental conditions, and interpreting behavioral data. It emphasizes methods of direct measurement, within subject designs, and graphical analytical tactics. Stressing the unique methodological requirements of behavior as a subject matter, it avoids a cookbook approach by examining methodological strategies and tactics in terms of their influence on the researcher's behavior. Written as a text for use in both undergraduate and graduate courses, this volume contains a number of features that aid student mastery, including detailed chapter outlines, boxes explaining supplementary or specialized material, study guides for both text and boxes, and a glossary of terms.

Excerpt

The original version of this work, Strategies and Tactics of Human Behavioral Research, was published in 1980. That effort challenged us to figure out what we wanted to say about the scientific study of behavior. This intellectual journey was one of the highlights of our careers. As we struggled to disentangle issues and decipher problems in this field, often for the first time, we often neglected the instructional goals of the book.

Our education continued with countless undergraduate and graduate courses in which Strategies and Tactics served as the text. Among other revelations, we learned that the book's literary style was not as easy to read as it was to write (some have kindly observed that it belongs to an earlier century). Although we saw our use of sesquipedalian words as a wonderful occasion for enlarging the reader's vocabulary, others were quick to convince us that such exercises were out of place in a textbook. When students began contests to find the longest sentence in the book, it was hard not to admit that some modest editing might be useful. It was especially frustrating to realize that after struggling to make sense of an issue, we had not always communicated our findings clearly. Even worse, we learned that we had sometimes failed to go far enough in our examination of a topic, leaving readers with misunderstandings that we later overcame but could not share.

Over the years, we took a number of opportunities to correct and extend ourselves by publishing on methodological matters in journals and edited volumes. This has proven a valuable means of furthering our understanding of various topics, but this scattered record tends to collect only a scattered readership. Teachers still need a textbook that presents a complete and coherent picture of behavioral research methods. Furthermore, they need to accommodate students that range from undergraduate psychology majors, to first-year graduate students in education, to advanced graduate students in the field of behavior analysis.

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