Ending over eating
Starting a Self-Direction Project
For many students, behavior modification is a totally new concept. It may be unclear to many
how to create an excellent self-modification project. The following outline should help you
organize your thoughts. The project format should include:
• A description of the target behavior you want to change and a brief summary of
research that has been published about techniques used to successfully to change
that behavior. For example, you may want to lose 10 pounds during the semester. There
is a wealth of published information on specific diet, exercise, and even cognitive
strategies that have been used to reduce weight. This section is usually described as the
Introduction in an academic article.
• A description of the techniques you intend to use to change the behavior. You need
to explain what, when, where, and how you will change your behavior or the behavior of
others. To say, “I will exercise” is inadequate. You would need to say, “I will pedal the
exercise bike at 12 miles per hour for a period of thirty minutes, four days a week.” You
will want to describe techniques used to:
Control antecedents (Chapter 5)
Change behaviors (Chapter 6)
Provide reinforcing consequences (Chapter 7)
Deal with problems (Chapters 8 and 9).
You need to describe the procedures so that another researcher could replicate (repeat)
your study doing exactly the same things. This section is described as the Methods
section of an academic article.
• A description of the result of your efforts to change behavior. For example, you will
need to describe in words or in a graph your exercise pattern BEFORE the intervention,
the pattern DURING the intervention, and the pattern AFTER the intervention. This
section is described as the Results section of an academic article. You may want to
include an “Appendix” with the charts and graphs to confirm your progress.
• An analysis of the results. You will want to analyze the implications of your data. If you
were successful in increasing your exercise, what process explains your success? Was it
the social environment of the gym? Was it the pressure exerted by your spouse or
significant other? Did your results confirm the published case studies that you reviewed
before creating your intervention? Could your results suggest that a different process or
series of elements is necessary to actually increase a person’s exercise? If you were to
redo the project, what would you do differently? This section is described as the
Discussion section of an academic article.
The ideal report should include each of the suggestions at the end of the chapters (“Your Own
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