Agile science: creating useful products for behavior change in the real world

Eric B. Hekler, Predrag Klasnja, William T. Riley, Matthew P. Buman, Jennifer Huberty, Daniel E. Rivera, Cesar A. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

141 Scopus citations

Abstract

Evidence-based practice is important for behavioral interventions but there is debate on how best to support real-world behavior change. The purpose of this paper is to define products and a preliminary process for efficiently and adaptively creating and curating a knowledge base for behavior change for real-world implementation. We look to evidence-based practice suggestions and draw parallels to software development. We argue to target three products: (1) the smallest, meaningful, self-contained, and repurposable behavior change modules of an intervention; (2) “computational models” that define the interaction between modules, individuals, and context; and (3) “personalization” algorithms, which are decision rules for intervention adaptation. The “agile science” process includes a generation phase whereby contender operational definitions and constructs of the three products are created and assessed for feasibility and an evaluation phase, whereby effect size estimates/casual inferences are created. The process emphasizes early-and-often sharing. If correct, agile science could enable a more robust knowledge base for behavior change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-328
Number of pages12
JournalTranslational Behavioral Medicine
Volume6
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Behavior change
  • Implementation science
  • Research methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Applied Psychology

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