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.


50th Annual Convention; Philadelphia, PA; 2024

Event Details

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Panel #146
CE Offered: BACB
Overcoming Barriers to Research in Applied Practice: A Panel Discussion
Saturday, May 25, 2024
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Marriott Downtown, Level 5, Grand Ballroom Salon CD
Area: TBA/AUT; Domain: Theory
CE Instructor: Brittany Tomasi, M.A.
Chair: Brittany Tomasi (Endicott College)
LESLEY A. SHAWLER (Southern Illinois University)
SARAH FRAMPTON (University of Nebraska Omaha)

The research-to-practice gap is prevalent across many fields. The goal of the scientist-practitioner model (SPM) in applied behavior analysis (ABA) is to produce and improve meaningful clinical outcomes through an empirical and scientific worldview based on the defining principles of ABA (Dorsey & Harper, 2018; Weiss 2018). Weiss (2018) argues that the best practitioners in behavior analysis are excellent scientists. Sidman (2011) acknowledged that applied problems may differ from those in the laboratory; however, understanding basic research methodology and its relation to practical problems will contribute to more significant therapeutic outcomes in practice. Shawler et al. (2018) indicated that most survey respondents reported adhering to the SPM, regardless of high research productivity. This outcome reflects the differing contingencies that may exist for scientists compared to practitioners. One solution to bridge this gap is for practitioners to conduct more applied research. However, despite practitioners reporting they find conducting research to be important, many barriers to integrating research into applied settings have been reported (Valentino & Juanico, 2020). The current panel will describe the current state of SPM within the field of ABA. Suggestions on bridging the gap and implications for conducting applied research in everyday practice will be discussed.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

knowledge of research methodology; knowledge of principles of behavior; application of behavior analytic principles in practice

Learning Objectives: 1. Understand the current state of SPM within the field of ABA 2. Describe the barriers to integrating research in applied settings 3. Discuss solutions to bridge the gap between research and practice in applied settings
Keyword(s): applied research, research methodology, scientist-practitioner



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