EDF5680 - Behaviour analysis: Concepts and foundations - 2018

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Chief examiner(s)

Erin Leif


Erin Leif

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2018 (Flexible)


This unit covers the foundational knowledge, assumptions and principles of applied behaviour analysis (ABA). Students will learn how the scientific method frames ABA concepts and principles. It will position experimentation as a core element of practice and explain how measurement and experimentation inform ABA practice. Ethical and professional conduct around the use of ABA as a powerful behaviour change tool will be examined. Students are introduced to operant principles and their application to ABA practices and their application in education, community and workplace settings.


Upon successful completion of this unit students should be able to:

  1. articulate the basic principles of applied behaviour analysis including their application to establish new behaviours, increase desired behaviours and diminish inappropriate behaviours
  2. describe behaviour in observational terms
  3. conduct reliable and valid behavioural observations and select appropriate experimental methods for specific practice issues
  4. discuss ethical and social validity issues concerning the choice of target behaviours, appropriate assessments and behaviour change programs, in particular for vulnerable populations
  5. examine advanced ethical issues concerning the responsible conduct of behaviour analysts in relation to research, their colleagues, the profession of behaviour analysts and the Behavior Analysts Certification Board (BACB)
  6. describe ethical and professional responsibilities and considerations of behaviour analysts in the supervision process
  7. express and assess intervention goals in objective and measurable terms.


Four multiple-choice tests (collectively 3200 words equivalent, 40%)

Case study (4800 words, 60%)

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload equals 288 hours per semester comprising:

  1. Contact hours for flexible students:
    • 12 contact hours and 24 hours equivalent of online activities over the semester or
    • 36 hours equivalent of online activities over the semester
  2. Additional requirements (all students):
    • Independent study to meet the required minimum hours during the semester

See also Unit timetable information