Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

Living Edition
| Editors: Marc Gellman

Agile Science

  • Eric B HeklerEmail author
  • Predrag Klasnja
  • John Harlow
Living reference work entry

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6439-6_101944-2



Agile Science moves scientific inquiry from asking “what works on average?” to “what works for me?” To do so, it uses evolution-inspired iterative creation, optimization, and repurposing to develop repurposable interventions and components organized by when, where, and for whom they work. Agile science (Hekler et al. 2016) is a process for creating useful and usable behavior change interventions and corresponding usable evidence for supporting decision-making of individuals/patients, practitioners, and policy-makers. The process starts with creating many variations of plausibly useful behavior change interventions for a “niche,” i.e., specified people, places, and times. This is followed by optimizingthose behavior change interventions for that targeted niche. Optimization tests whether the interventions produce the desired real-world success, with definitions of...

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References and Further Readings

  1. Collins, L. M., Kugler, K. C., & Gwadz, M. V. (2016). Optimization of multicomponent behavioral and biobehavioral interventions for the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS. AIDS and Behavior, 20(1), 197–214.CrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. Hekler, E. B., Klasnja, P., Riley, W. T., Buman, M. P., Huberty, J., Rivera, D. E., & Martin, C. A. (2016). Agile science: Creating useful products for behavior change in the real world. Translational Behavioral Medicine, 6(2), 317–328.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  3. Klasnja, P., Hekler, E. B., Korinek, E. V., Harlow, H, & Mishra, S. R. (2017). Toward usable evidence: Optimizing knowledge accumulation in HCI research on health behavior change. In Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ‘17), ACM, New York, pp. 3071–3082.  https://doi.org/10.1145/3025453.3026013.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nutrition ProgramSchool of Nutrition & Health Promotion, Arizona State UniversityPhoenixUSA
  2. 2.Group Health Research InstituteSeattleUSA
  3. 3.School of InformationUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  4. 4.School for the Future of Innovation in SocietyArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Emily Lattie
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of Preventive MedicineNorthwestern UniversityChicagoUSA