Academic journal article The Behavior Analyst Today

Designing Multiple Baseline Graphs Using Microsoft Excel[TM]

Academic journal article The Behavior Analyst Today

Designing Multiple Baseline Graphs Using Microsoft Excel[TM]

Article excerpt

Single-subject design graphs are critical elements in displaying research results in applied behavior analysis. However, developing a graph that conveys the researcher's results as well as adheres to a manuscript preparation checklist are sometimes daunting experiences. This article is intended to provide the reader with a basic understanding of how to create a multiple baseline experimental design graph using Microsoft Excel[TM].

Keywords: single-subject graphs, designing graphs, software

**********

Single-subject design graphs (e.g., reversal, multiple baseline) are critical elements in displaying research results in applied behavior analysis. However, developing a graph that conveys the researcher's results as well as adheres to a manuscript preparation checklist are sometimes daunting experiences. This article is intended to provide the reader with a basic understanding of how to create a multiple baseline experimental design graph using Microsoft Excel[TM]. However, these directions assume an intermediate level of understanding of Excel[TM], such as the function of various Excel toolbars. These detailed instructions will act as a good starting point when initially constructing graphs. However, readers are cautioned in using the directions as guides not as rules as they evolve through the graph construction process.

Carr & Burkholder (1998) provided us with a great service in writing one of the first articles that described how to design single-subject graphs using Microsoft Excel[TM]. Even though there are several published articles that teach how to design single-subject graphs such as reversal graphs (e.g., Carr & Burkholder, 1998; Moran & Hirschbine, 2002), the authors have no knowledge of an article that clearly describes how to construct a multiple baseline graph. Following the instructions in this article will allow the reader to construct multiple baseline graphs on Excel[TM] that conform to the Manuscript preparation checklist in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis (2000).

Creating a Multiple Baseline Design Graph

Entering Data into the Spreadsheet

When you open Excel you will see columns (labeled A, B, C...) that represent values of the dependent variable and rows (labeled 1, 2, 3...) that show the sessions, days, etc. As shown in Figure 1 (at the end of this article), enter all of your data (e.g. baseline) in column "A", beginning with A1, using one cell for each datum point. The only exception will be that each participant (or setting, or behavior) will be entered into a different column. For example, I have three participants, the first person's data will go in column A, the second set of data will go in column B, and the third set of data will go in column C.

For each new phase (e.g., baseline, intervention, return to baseline) enter data in the same column (e.g., column "A"). When finished, all data points for the first participant, setting, or behavior should be in a continuous line in the "A" column. All data points for the second participant, setting, or behavior should be in a continuous line in the "B" column, and so on until all data have been entered.

The primary reason for entering the data this way is to make your data entry less hectic, because you will be entering all of your data (e.g., participants, setting, etc.). Another reason is so that the x-axis numbers are correctly aligned with the tick marks.

The easiest way to ensure that the different graphs (also known as legs) in your multiple baseline graphs are equivalent is to create one graph and copy it. Using the mouse, starting with the last datum point, highlight all of the cells containing data points (this will highlight cells a shaded color) in column "A" only. DO NOT HIGHLIGHT THE OTHER COLUMNS. Left click on the Chart Wizard icon (picture of a bar graph). Choose (XY) SCATTER and press FINISH. The data points for the first participant, setting, or behavior will be graphed. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.