Animal Use in Science: Exploring the 3Rs

Module 5

Experimental Design and Reproducibility

Competency: Critique elements of experimental design and reporting for reproducibility and validity

Learning Objectives:

  • Explain the steps of the scientific method
  • Describe the characteristics of quality scientific research
  • Explain current threats to quality scientific research including lack of reproducibility, faulty experimental design, and pressure to publish
  • Describe experimental design factors that impact experiment reproducibility
  • Identify reporting factors that impact experimental reproducibility
  • Identify steps researchers take to increase the validity of results
  • Identify strategies for applying the 3 Rs to improve research design and validity

Assessment: Case Study: Forced Swim Test

  • Identify the control, independent, and dependent variables
  • List steps taken to increase the validity of results
  • Correlate the study to the 10 essential ARRIVE guidelines
  • Identify potential limitations of the experimental design
  • Consider data from subsequent human study applications draw conclusions about the effectiveness of the animal study
Download Materials

Lesson plan, worksheets, and activities (PDF, 1.2 MB)


The Scientific Method and Experimental Design
(PowerPoint, 16.3 MB)

Considerations for Well-Designed Animal Experiments
(PowerPoint, 36.8 MB)

Linked External Standards:


RST.11-12.7 Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., quantitative data, video, multimedia) in order to address a question or solve a problem.

RST.11-12.8 Evaluate the hypotheses, data, analysis, and conclusions in a science or technical text, verifying the data when possible and corroborating or challenging conclusions with other sources of information.

RST.11-12.9 Synthesize information from a range of sources (e.g., texts, experiments, simulations) into a coherent understanding of a process, phenomenon, or concept, resolving conflicting information when possible.

W.9-10.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

CCSS - Math

HSN-Q.A.1 Use units as a way to understand problems and to guide the solution of multi-step problems; choose and interpret units consistently in formulas; choose and interpret the scale and the origin in graphs and data displays