The Experimental Design Assistant (EDA) is a free online tool from the NC3Rs, designed to guide researchers through the design of their experiments, helping to ensure that they use the minimum number of animals consistent with their scientific objectives, methods to reduce subjective bias, and appropriate statistical analysis.
- What is the EDA?
- System requirements for the EDA
- Background to the EDA
- How does the EDA further the implementation of the 3Rs?
- Working group membership
The EDA comprises of two parts: a web application and a supporting website; benefits include:
- The ability to build a stepwise visual representation of your experiment.
- Feedback and advice on your experimental plan.
- Dedicated support for randomisation, blinding and sample size calculation.
- Practical information to improve knowledge of experimental design.
- Improved transparency of your experimental design, allowing you to share and discuss your plan with colleagues and collaborators.
To use the system you need to create a free account through the EDA website so that you can save your diagrams and work on them over time.
The EDA is not currently compatible with mobiles and tablets. We intend to support IE11 and Edge in later releases. Please note that the EDA will not load in Internet Explorer browsers prior to IE11.
Using the EDA in an unsupported or out-of-date browser may result in:
In 2009, we published a survey of the peer-reviewed literature which assessed the quality of publically funded animal research in the US and the UK. The survey identified areas for improvement in:
- Experimental design
- Statistical analysis
- Reporting of studies
In response to the survey, we produced guidelines for the reporting of animal experiments – the ARRIVE guidelines, which were published in 2010 and subsequently endorsed by many journals, research funders, universities and learned societies.
To build on this work and provide further support to improve the quality of animal experiments, we developed the EDA which was launched in 2015. The EDA is developed in collaboration with an expert working group and Certus Technology, a company which specialises in innovative software for the life sciences.
Good experimental design can minimise animal use in two ways:
- By accounting for the influence of variables and addressing sources of bias, an adequately designed experiment will yield robust and reproducible data, ensuring that the data from every animal is utilised to its full potential.
- An efficient use of statistics can reduce the number of animals required and maximise the information obtained per experiment. More complex designs, for example, can help researchers identify factors which influence the experimental results, providing more information about the model they are using.
|Professor Clare Stanford (Chair)||University College London|
|Dr Simon Bate||GlaxoSmithKline|
|Dr Manuel Berdoy||University of Oxford|
|Dr Robin Clark||Envigo|
|Professor Innes Cuthill||University of Bristol|
|Dr Derek Fry||University of Manchester|
|Dr Natasha Karp||AstraZeneca|
|Professor Malcolm Macleod||University of Edinburgh|
|Dr Lawrence Moon||King’s College London|
|Dr Richard Preziosi||University of Manchester|
Percie du Sert N., Bamsey I, Bate ST, Berdoy M, Clark RA, Cuthill IC, Fry D, Karp NA, Macleod M, Moon L, Stanford SC, and Lings B (2017) The Experimental Design Assistant. Nature Methods Epub Sept 29, 2017. doi:10.1038/nmeth.4462 (Full paper via ReadCube)
Percie du Sert N., Bamsey I, Bate ST, Berdoy M, Clark RA, Cuthill IC, Fry D, Karp NA, Macleod M, Moon L, Stanford SC, and Lings B (2017) The Experimental Design Assistant. PLoS Biology 15:e2003779. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.2003779