Baseline Measure

Posted on October 27, 2009 by


The Baseline Measure documents the state of existence before some type of treatment, solution, or other manipulation. This term is used in research including Six Sigma research. For example, Carl wants to know if the new product DubGal when added to a car’s gas tank really does double the number of miles that can be driven per gallon of gas. Carl first documents how much gas his car is using for the miles he is driving and calculates that he is getting 28 miles per gallon. This is his Baseline Measure. Next he adds a bottle of DubGal to his tank and calculates how many miles per gallon of gas he is able to drive. He discovers that with the DubGal, he is able to drive 30 miles per gallon of gas. If he had not calculated how many gallons per mile he was getting before he added the DubGal, he would not have known what the difference was. Taking measurement before and after an intervention (in this case adding DubGal was the intervention) is called an AB Design. If the intervention is removed and more measures are taken (for example, after using the bottle of DubGal, take more measures of mileage without it), it is called an ABA or Reversal Design. It is just simple logic—if you want to know the effect of something, you have to understand what the situation is without it.

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