Behavior Analysis in Practice

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 504–516 | Cite as

Using Microsoft Excel® to Build a Customized Partial-Interval Data Collection System

  • Cody A. MorrisEmail author
  • Neil Deochand
  • Stephanie M. Peterson
Technical and Tutorials


Using data to inform treatment decisions is a hallmark of behavior analysis. However, collecting the type of data that behavior analysts often require can be a labor-intensive and time-consuming task. Electronic data collection systems have been identified as a tool to alleviate some of the issues related to data collection, but many obstacles still exist. Current limitations of electronic data collection systems include cost, adaptability, ease of use, and compliance with privacy and security guidelines. The purpose of this article is to offer practitioners an alternative to buying an electronic data collection system by providing a task analysis on how to build customized electronic data collection systems using Microsoft Excel®. This task analysis is written for individuals with limited or no experience working with Excel® but may also be of utility to individuals fluent in Excel®. This task analysis is organized into three sections: (a) creating a basic electronic data collection table with dropdown menus and autofill features, (b) creating a timestamp for all data entered, and (c) creating automatically graphing displays of data.


Data collection integrity Data collection timelines Electronic data collection Excel® 



Thanks to Dr. Wayne Fuqua and Dr. Heather McGee for providing feedback and suggestions in developing the first iteration of this electronic data collection system. Thanks to Nate VanderWeele, Kelsey Webster, Yisang Yang, Nicole Hollins, and Haley Hughes for their feedback on the task analysis.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

40617_2018_259_MOESM1_ESM.docx (10.6 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 10886 kb)
40617_2018_259_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (48 kb)
ESM 2 (XLSX 47 kb)


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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWestern Michigan UniversityKalamazooUSA

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