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'Must Haves' For Your Next Baseline Study

Baselines should be conducted at the very early stage in the project, after the program has been designed, but before implementation starts.

They should be developed in tandem with goals and objectives and should respond to program implementation strategies

Baseline data should be collected based on inidcators.  Expect to adjust some of your indicators once baseline information is collected - Be ready to refine or complement your original indicators based on the results from your baseline.

Baselines should provide a description of the geographical location and context and describe the tools, sampling strategies and methods of data collection. It should also highlight problems encountered.

Your baseline data should be in accordance with your program objectives and outcome indicators so that information being collected will be useful in setting future targets.

Use your baseline data to adjust your results framework as well as your measurement instruments.

Don't confuse your baseline study with your thematic evaluation.  While theme evaluations provide preliminary information on an issue, baselines generate important data that helps determine change and reform and/or complement the project and its indicators.