4-Experimental design and statistical analysis

There are extensive sources of guidance on study design and statistical analysis in a separate section of this website. These, together with a statistician, should be consulted at an early stage.
Other sections of the PREPARE guidelines cover the animal and facility related issues of experimental design.
An additional critical part of "experimental design" is evaluation of the animals' housing, husbandry and care. See the section on Housing and Husbandry.

General principles
For fish researchers

Glossary of terms used in design and analysis
An overview of concerns in the literature about poor experimental design

Pre-registration of animal research

The pre-registration of protocols for animal research is gaining momentum, enabling peer review and as part of the work to reduce bias:

Depositories for online protocols

Registration of accidents or critical incidents

If unexpected or undesirable incidents occur during a study, scientists have at the very least a moral obligation to help prevent this from happening in future research. There are now centres which allow registration of such incidents, such as CIRS-LAS. These should be consulted to see if incidents relevant to a study have been reported.

Experimental design

In a paper entitled "The well-built research question", Penny Reynolds describes how research ideas can be converted into actionable plans by decomposing the study into 5 components, using the mnemonic PICOT (Platform, Intervention, Comparators and Controls, Outcome, Time).

TextBase contains many books about experimental design, including:

Further references

This page was updated on 23 February 2024

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