Fourth and second editions October 15, 2019

Back in 2017, I published a post titled, “Research methods as a way of talking about behavior.” The piece explained the relationship between how we talk about behavior and how we study it, noting the considerable differences between colloquial and scientific dialects.

I’ve been writing about both dialects and their practical implications for many years, and I have another milestone to report. The fourth edition of S&T has now been published. If you don’t recognize the S&T reference, you have a lot to explore. The original title was Strategies and tactics of human behavioral research, although the second edition dropped the “human” reference. Times change when a book has been in print for almost 40 years, however, and the fourth edition title adds “and practice” to formalize the transition began with the third edition to more explicitly recognizing the methodological needs of the field’s exploding practitioner cohort.

What’s different?

The back cover blurb summarizes the updates.

Strategies and Tactics of Behavioral Research and Practice focuses on the most effective methods for measuring and evaluating changes in behavior. The authors provide the rationale for different procedures for measuring behavior and designing within-subject comparisons between control and intervention conditions. The text explains the strengths and weaknesses of methodological alternatives for every topic so that behavioral researchers and practitioners can make the best decisions in each situation.

This classic text has been extensively revised to be more accessible and practical. Not only does it feature much more discussion of how research methods are relevant to today’s practitioners, it also includes additional examples based on field research and service delivery scenarios. With expanded coverage on creating experimental designs, as well as new chapters on behavioral assessment, the statistical analysis of data, and ethical issues associated with research methods, this book provides a strong foundation for direct behavioral measurement, within subject research design, and interpretation of behavioral interventions.

Enriched with more pedagogical features, including key terms, tables summarizing important points, figures to help readers visualize text, and updated examples and suggested readings, this book is an invaluable resource for students taking courses in research methods. This book is appropriate for researchers and practitioners in behavior analysis, psychology, education, social work, and other social and health science programs that address questions about behavior in research or practice settings.

In other words, the fourth edition is another substantial revision, complete with considerable new material and much new writing, which was greatly aided by the many skills of our third author, Dr. Gina Green.

And next…

With the fourth edition of the methods book out of the way, it’s time to start working on the second edition of the radical behaviorism book. (Both continue to sell quite well.) In fact, I started this blog in 2014 as a way of encouraging me to continue thinking of interesting topics and ways of explaining them so that I would eventually be ready to produce a revised edition. I’m not prepared to promise exactly how the content will evolve, but I’ll start by gathering feedback from a selection of instructors for guidance.

Perhaps the biggest question concerns how a second edition might incorporate – or at least make available – any useful content in the 58 posts to date. Some are not sufficiently pertinent for a revision, others elaborate on existing material, and still others engage interesting topics not addressed in the existing edition. All of the posts are too long to simply insert here or there. Of course, there are topics that probably should be added to the book, but it will be important to make sure the final length does not exceed instructors’ needs. Along the way, I’ll continue to look for opportunities to add another post or two, but most of my writing will be in support of the second edition.

Meanwhile, take a look at the fourth edition of S&T.


Johnston, J. M. (2017, February 28). Research methods as a way of talking about behavior.

Johnston, J. M., Pennypacker, H. S., & Green, G. (2020) Strategies and tactics of behavioral research and practice. New York: Routledge.


Fourth and second editions

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Jim Johnston

Dr. Johnston received his doctorate from the University of Florida in 1970 and held faculty positions at Georgia State University, the University of Florida, and Auburn University. He has published both laboratory and field research with both human and non-human species on a variety of topics. He has longstanding interests in the area of developmental disabilities and founded the Master’s Program in Applied Behavior Analysis in Developmental Disabilities at Auburn University. He has served as editor of The Behavior Analyst and on the editorial boards of the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior and the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, among others. He has served as president of the Association for Behavior Analysis International, as well as for the Florida, Alabama, and Southeastern behavior analysis organizations, and was the first president of the Behavior Analysis Certification Board and the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts.

Fourth and second editions October 15, 2019