Perspectives on Behavior Science
Author ORCID Identifier
Timothy A. Slocum https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4661-2403
Sarah E. Pinkelman https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6380-6189
P. Raymond Joslyn https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8207-6505
Beverly Nichols https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1021-4104
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Multiple baseline designs—both concurrent and nonconcurrent—are the predominant experimental design in modern applied behavior analytic research and are increasingly employed in other disciplines. In the past, there was significant controversy regarding the relative vigor of concurrent and nonconcurrent multiple baseline designs. The consensus in recent textbooks and methodological papers is that nonconcurrent designs are less rigorous than concurrent designs because of their presumed limited ability to address the threat of coincidental events (i.e., history). This skepticism of nonconcurrent designs stems from an emphasis on the importance of across-tier comparisons and relatively low importance placed on replicated within-tier comparisons for addressing threats to internal validity and establishing experimental control. In this article, we argue that the primary reliance on across-tier comparisons and the resulting deprecation of nonconcurrent designs are not well-justified. In this article, we first define multiple baseline designs, describe common threats to internal validity, and delineate the two bases for controlling these threats. Second, we briefly summarize historical methodological writing and current textbook treatment of these designs. Third, we explore how concurrent and nonconcurrent multiple baselines address each of the main threats to internal validity. Finally, we make recommendations for rigorous use, reporting, and evaluation of multiple baseline designs.
Slocum, T.A., Pinkelman, S.E., Joslyn, P.R. et al. Threats to Internal Validity in Multiple-Baseline Design Variations. Perspect Behav Sci 45, 619–638 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40614-022-00326-1