Associate Professor Amanda Richdale
Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre, La Trobe University
Baseline is similar to the ‘pre-test’ condition in a pre-post test design.
The key difference here is that we measure the target behaviour on multiple occasions to see if any change/variability in the behaviour is occurring naturally (increasing, decreasing, fluctuating).
No intervention is introduced during baseline conditions.
At least 3 data points are necessary (except in rare cases).
Baseline sessions are valuable from both clinical and research perspective:
- Allow us to apply and test your data collection process.
- Allow us to better understand clients’ strengths and needs, and to refine intervention if necessary.
- Important to explain the importance and benefits of baseline sessions to client/carers/caregivers to avoid misconceptions.
Now define the intervention (independent variable) that you will use in an attempt to change the target behaviour.
Ensure that your definition is written in a way that it addresses the following questions:
- In what context will the intervention be provided?
- What is the nature of the intervention?
- What will be the frequency of the intervention?
- What will be the intensity of the intervention?
- What will be the duration of the intervention?