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An illustration that statistical design mitigates environmental variation and ensures unambiguous study conclusions

By K. H. Gore, P. J. Stanley

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Abstract

This paper highlights the essential need for appropriate statistical design and randomisation in laboratory animal studies. Using an example of a 21 day weight gain study in mice, we show that without the use of an appropriate statistical design and randomisation, incorrect conclusions may have been drawn. We used an experimental design that allowed comparisons to be made between five treatments that were free from systematic error. Two alternative designs that are practically attractive, yet had no statistical basis, are also described in this paper and the potentially incorrect conclusions highlighted. The use of appropriate statistical design is ethical because it results in clear, unambiguous conclusions. Conclusions that may be biased or ambiguous will require verification by further research and this, in the long term, is contrary to the reduction element of the Three Rs.

Date 2005
Publication Title Animal Welfare
Volume 14
Issue 4
Pages 361-365
ISBN/ISSN 0962-7286
Language English
Author Address Pfizer Global Research and Development, Ramsgate Road, Sandwich, Kent CT13 9NJ, UK. phil.stanley@pfizer.com
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Tags
  1. Animal experimentation
  2. Animal research
  3. Animal rights
  4. Animal welfare
  5. British Isles
  6. Commonwealth of Nations
  7. Developed countries
  8. Ethics
  9. Europe
  10. Experimentation
  11. Great Britain
  12. Laboratory and experimental animals
  13. Laboratory animal science
  14. Mammals
  15. Mathematics and statistics
  16. Mice
  17. OECD countries
  18. peer-reviewed
  19. plot design
  20. randomized trials
  21. Rodents
  22. statistical analysis
  23. United Kingdom
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  1. peer-reviewed