Conducting rigorous research that is both reliable and reproducible should be the goal of every researcher. A poor research culture actively discourages thorough and thoughtful work. This has major 3Rs implications: when research involving the use of animals is poorly planned and executed, it is not only bad for science, it is also unethical, wasting animals and causing unnecessary suffering.
We provide a number of resources on experimental design to encourage and enable rigorous research, from the planning stage through to final publication. These include:
- The Experimental Design Assistant (EDA): an online platform that gives feedback and advice on your experimental plans, as well as the tools to perform power calculations, automate the randomisation of animals to groups and enable blinding, to reduce the risk of bias in your study.
- The ARRIVE guidelines: a checklist of recommendations for the transparent reporting of research involving animals. The guidelines set out the key information required to evaluate the reliability of published results and reproduce the work. They can be useful not only when writing a manuscript but also when planning studies and peer reviewing others’ work.
We also provide training on experimental design for members of funding panels from a range of organisations. The recordings from our 2018 workshop are available to watch online – topics covered include sample size calculation, translatability of animal work, and the consequences of poor experimental design. These videos can also help applicants understand what panel members are looking for when assessing proposals.