Between two stools: preclinical research, reproducibility, and statistical design of experiments.

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Date: Feb. 21, 2022
From: BMC Research Notes(Vol. 15, Issue 1)
Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd.
Document Type: Viewpoint essay
Length: 3,115 words
Lexile Measure: 1450L

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Abstract :

Translation of animal-based preclinical research is hampered by poor validity and reproducibility issues. Unfortunately, preclinical research has 'fallen between the stools' of competing study design traditions. Preclinical studies are often characterised by small sample sizes, large variability, and 'problem' data. Although Fisher-type designs with randomisation and blocking are appropriate and have been vigorously promoted, structured statistically-based designs are almost unknown. Traditional analysis methods are commonly misapplied, and basic terminology and principles of inference testing misinterpreted. Problems are compounded by the lack of adequate statistical training for researchers, and failure of statistical educators to account for the unique demands of preclinical research. The solution is a return to the basics: statistical education tailored to non-statistician investigators, with clear communication of statistical concepts, and curricula that address design and data issues specific to preclinical research. Statistics curricula should focus on statistics as process: data sampling and study design before analysis and inference. Properly-designed and analysed experiments are a matter of ethics as much as procedure. Shifting the focus of statistical education from rote hypothesis testing to sound methodology will reduce the numbers of animals wasted in noninformative experiments and increase overall scientific quality and value of published research. Keywords: Reproducibility, Experimental design, Statistics, Animal-based research

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A694505344