A number of elements come into the mix when trying to optimise experimental design. Among these are having clear objectives, setting up valid comparisons, knowing how to avoid bias during the conduct of the experiment, and ability to select and use appropriately the best design from those which could be used – and that includes considering effects on the animals and the severity of the procedures. Beforehand it is important to have done suitable background reading not only related to the scientific question but also of the impact on the animals of the methods that might be used, and the likely severity of the work. Systematic review of the literature, identifying, selecting, appraising, and synthesizing all available research evidence relevant to that question, should be an important part of this background work. These reviews can help improve the methodological quality of animal experiments, make the choice of an animal model and the translation of animal data to the clinic more evidence-based, and help the researcher implement the 3Rs.
The panel discussion will start with short introductions from the panellists covering these points and then proceed as a general discussion on what is needed to optimise experimental design, how those teaching experimental design can make researchers aware of the important considerations, and how systematic reviews can be used as a tool to optimise experimental design.
During the session a participant will: