AN EVALUATION OF TIME-SAMPLE MEASURES OF BEHAVIOR

Authors


  • We wish to thank Mrs. Karen Keys, the subject in this investigation, and Dr. Rob Hawkins who provided us with the term, momentary time-sampling.

Department of Special Education, California State College, California, Pennsylvania 15419.

Abstract

Continuous and time-sample measures of the in-seat behavior of a secretary were obtained. Measurement error, i.e., the extent to which the sample measures deviated from the continuous measure, was a function of the frequency of the sample measurements and the criterion used to score an example of the behavior. If the behavior had to be exhibited throughout the observational interval (whole-interval time sampling), there was a consistent underestimate of the continuous measure. If the behavior had to be exhibited only briefly within the observational interval (partial-interval time sampling), there was a consistent overestimate of the continuous measure. And, if the behavior had to be exhibited at the end of the observational interval (momentary time sampling), overestimations and underestimations of the continuous measure occurred about equally often. As expected, the more frequently the sample measures were made the closer was the agreement between the sample and continuous measures. Two conclusions concerning measurement error in interval time sampling were made. The first was that the error will be a function of the mean time per response. The second is that this error will not be consistent across experimental conditions.

Ancillary