Design and reporting of animal experiments

This page supplements advice given in Section 4 of the PREPARE guidelines. PREPARE covers all aspects of design (including animal and facility related issues).

Resources about contingency plans and preparedness, relevant to the Covid-19 pandemic and other emergencies.

This page contains a collection of links to resources on the more "mathematical" aspects of experimental design, including statistical analysis.
Direct oversight by a statistician is likely to be more effective than reliance on self-education from interactive tools, textbooks and websites, although many of these are excellent. The following points should be considered:

  1. A clear hypothesis and descriptions a priori of primary and secondary outcomes, to avoid HARKing (see also Bishop, 2019).
  2. Steps to minimise numbers and suffering of animals by appropriate statistical analysis, including the use of pilot studies.
  3. Decisions on the power and significance levels to be used.
  4. Definition of the experimental unit and number of animals in each unit
  5. Choice of sample size and gender, age and/or developmental stage
  6. Avoidance of bias, including “blinding” and randomisation (the procedure should be specified)
  7. Inclusion and exclusion criteria

Guidance on reporting of animal experiments has been moved to a separate section.
The section on common concerns about experimental design should also be consulted.

The journal PLOS has published guidance on how to report statistical analyses.

Resources for experimental design

More references

Material from courses

Other literature and resources

This page was updated on 29 April 2024

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