Guest Blog Post by Dr. Katherine May, Ed.D., BCBA

When a behavior intervention consists of multiple components (treatment/behavioral package) and the practitioner manipulates each component to see which one is most effective for the client. A component analysis is an experimental design to identify the active elements of a treatment package, the relative contributions of different components in a treatment package, and/or the necessity and sufficiency of treatment components (Cooper, Heron & Heward, 2019).

Essentially, a component analysis is when a practitioner is analyzing a treatment package to determine which treatment is most effective by analyzing which treatment is most efficiently affecting the dependent variable. A component analysis attempts to determine which part of an independent variable is responsible for behavior change. There’s one golden rule: change only variable at a time.

There are two methods for conducting component analyses; an add-in component analysis and a drop-out component analysis:

  1. Add-in Component Analysis: Components are assessed individually or in combination before the complete treatment package is presented. This method can identify sufficient components.
  1. Drop-out Component Analysis: The experimenter presents the treatment package and then systematically removes components. If the treatment’s effectiveness wanes when a component is removed then the experimenter has identified a necessary component.


Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2019). Applied Behavior Analysis (3rd Edition). Hoboken, NJ: Pearson Education.

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