Posted: May 25th, 2022
Also termed “single-case research” (Sheperis, Young & Daniels, 2017), time series research is “any research that takes place over time, in which different people or cases may be looked at in each time point” (Neuman, 2003, p. 546). A results of a time series study of the behavioral problems of one young learner, Kaya, are presented below, followed by a description of an appropriate behavioral intervention and how its effectiveness will be measured using another time series study.
A breakdown of Kaya’s observed behaviors during 3 separate weekdays during school hours is provided in Table 1 and depicted graphically in Figure 1 below.
Breakdown of observed behaviors
Frequency of Off-Task Behaviors (1)
Frequency of Physically Aggression (2)
Frequency of Verbal Aggression (3)
(1) = failure to maintain eye contact with task at hand for more than 3 consecutive seconds
(2) = hitting/pushing/kicking peers/teachers, throwing objects
(3) = threatening, yelling
Figure 1. Breakdown of observed behaviors
As can be readily discerned from Table 1 and Figure 1 above, the frequency of Kaya’s off-task behaviors and verbal aggression steadily increased during the 3 days of observation, and she was observed engaging in physically aggressive behaviors on two occasions. Each of these behaviors requires an evidence-based intervention that can reduce or eliminate them, with physical aggression ranking at the top of the priority list (Guerra & Boxer, 2005). Although current views about behavior-based interventions include the notion that once young people address the errors in thinking or reduce social information processing deficits, they will exhibit improved behaviors; however, there is also a growing recognition of the need to take situational factors into account in formulating interventions (Guerra & Boxer, 2005). According to Guerra and Boxer (2005), cognitive-ecological interventions have proven efficacy in cases such as Kaya’s. This strategy takes into account both the impact of individual factors as well as situational factors on behavior (Guerra & Boxer, 2005).
A client-specific cognitive-ecological intervention for Kaya would include an analysis of any triggers that are causing aggressive and verbal behaviors and deficits in maintaining on-task behaviors. In some cases, these may be organic while in other cases peers or teachers may be involved (Guerra & Boxer, 2005). Following this assessment and a meeting with Kaya’s parents or caregivers with the school counselor, the cognitive-ecological intervention would set forth the implications of any future undesirable behaviors, most especially physical aggression which should have a zero tolerance threshold (Gage & Sugal, 2013). To determine the effectiveness of this intervention, Kaya’s behaviors should be observed during a second series of 3 weekdays at approximately the same times as the baselines to identify improvements or declines (Sheperis et al., 2017). Additional information concerning the situational factors that are associated with Kaya’s undesirable behaviors (e.g., teasing or bullying by peers) should also be recorded. Finally, the client and her parents or caregivers should be assessed in a follow-up meeting to gain additional insights concerning the effectiveness of the cognitive-ecological intervention.
Gage, N. A. & Sugai, G. (2013, May). Truancy and zero tolerance in high school: Does policy align with practice? Education & Treatment of Children, 36(2), 117-119.
Guerra, N. G. & Boxer, P. (2005, May 1). A cognitive-ecological approach to serving students with emotional and behavioral disorders: Application to aggressive behavior. Behavioral Disorders, 30(3), 277-279.
Sheperis, C. J., Young, J. S., & Daniels, M. H. (2017). Counseling research: Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods (2nd ed.) Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.
Neuman, W. L. (2003). Social research methods: Qualitative and quantitative approaches, 5th ed. New York: Allyn & Bacon.
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