Baseline Basics

Baseline Basics is a short introduction to conducting a baseline study, focusing on the key concepts and practices, and pointing to additional resources for more detail. It includes a checklist for planning the study, as well as information on the reconstruction of baseline data.

The information provided was supplied by Scott Chaplowe, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.  

Authors and their affiliation

Scott Chaplowe, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies​

Year of publication 


Type of resource


Key features

This guide includes a checklist for planning a baseline study, as well as a sections on key concepts, reconstructing baseline data, and additional resources. It is meant to be succinct, but with enough information to practically guide the user to plan for and implement a baseline study, pointing to additional resources for further reference.

Who is this resource useful for?

  • Advocates for evaluation;
  • Commissioners/managers of evaluation;
  • Evaluation users;
  • Evaluators;
  • Those involved in evaluation capacity strengthening;
  • Other – those involved in collecting data to inform program implementation and evaluation.

How have you used or intend on using this resource?

This resource has been used to help project and program teams better understand how to best plan to obtain baseline data of key conditions before a project (or program) begins to later assess progress and change to inform monitoring and ongoing implementation, evaluation, etc.

Why would you recommend it to other people?

We developed this resource because we found many of our stakeholders did not have a good understanding of what a baseline study is, when it is required, and how to go about it. For example, we felt many people needed to clarify key concepts, like the difference between a needs assessment and a baseline, and remind them that one not always need a "Ferrari " to get around the block when a "Volkswagen" can do - thus, we point out scenarios ranging from "no" and "light" baseline studies to "heavy" and "reconstructed" baseline studies.


Chaplowe, S. (2013) Baseline Basics. May 2013 (living draft). Retrieved from:

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