A research methodology designed to examine a target behavior critically with consideration of the environmental antecedents and consequences that serve to produce and maintain the behavior. While assessment is often based on direct observation of a target behavior, researchers may also integrate interviews, rating scales, or
environmental manipulations to gain a comprehensive understanding of the specified behavior. Evolving from work in applied behavior analysis, functional behavior assessments are often used in educational settings
to gain a better understanding of the cause of a student’s problematic behavior so that effective interventions can be introduced to elicit behavioral change. When conducting behavioral assessments, researchers must be cautious about the accuracy of true scores versus observed scores: in essence, concerns over potential human error or bias in the monitoring and recording of behavioral data.