Owner/Developer: Michael FW Festing
|Description:||This site provides an interactive short course on experimental design for research scientists working with laboratory animals. The aim is to reduce the number of animals which are used, improve the quality of the science and save time, money and other scientific resources. Ethical review committees, IACUCs and Ph.D. supervisors might like to ask scientists starting work with animals to visit the site, work through it sequentially, and certify (using the form provided) that they have done so before starting their experiments.|
Interactive online resources
Optional / Voluntary
Continuing Professional Development, University (Doctoral education), Postdoctoral (teaching and research)
Ethics, Designing procedures and projects
Full coverage (a dedicated course)
|Course level on animal species:||
|Details on the topic or technology covered:||
1.Ethics and problems
2. Experiments and strategy
3. Experimental units
4. Good experiments
5. Avoiding bias
6. Power and sample size
7. Controlling variability
8. Strains of mice and rats
9. Experimental designs
10. Factorial experiments
11. Correlation, regression, survival
12. Statistical analysis
13. Presenting your results
14. Guidelines and reviews
15. Test yourself
16. Summary of main points
1. State clearly the purpose of the study
2. Explain why you have chosen a particular animal model and why the experiments could not be done using non-animal alternatives
3. Think about the 3Rs in relation to your experiments
4. Explicitly Identify your experimental unit
5. Explain how you decided sample size (power analysis, resource equation or fixed by availability)
6. Explain how the experimental units were randomised to the treatment groups
7. Use coded samples where possible to blind yourself (and others) to which treatment group a subject belongs
8. Think about ways of reducing the variability to increase power e.g. optimum/non-stressful housing, freedom from disease
Use inbred strains of rodents or explicitly justify not using them
9. Choose a suitable experimental design (completely randomised, randomised block, Latin square, etc)
10. Consider using a factorial design to explore generality of your results
11. Decide how you are going to do the statistical analysis before starting the experiment, recognising that methods may need to be modified when the results are obtained.
12. Choose a good statistical package and learn how to use it.
Make use of graphical methods, particularly those showing individual points, to screen and display your results
Consider quoting/displaying the results in standard deviation units (this will also help those doing a meta-analysis)
13. Learn some statistics (buy a good statistics textbook, take a course on statistics)
14. Learn to use the analysis of variance for these common designs:
One way (completely randomised design)
Two-way without interaction (randomised block design)
Two-or-more-way with interaction (factorial design)
15. Be very honest about deleting outliers, but try analysis with/without to see if they make any difference
16. Use the ARRIVE or GSP guidelines to ensure that you have not missed anything when writing your paper/thesis
"You can certify that you have worked through this web site and that you understand the importance of of good experimental design when working with laboratory animals.
The document could be presented to an ethical review committee or IACUC, a Ph.D. supervisor, or as evidence for your CPD file."
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