Study design

You must have a good study design to get publishable results. When designing an experiment you will need to decide:

  • What is your hypothesis or research question?
  • What are the aim(s) of your study?
  • What are the best methods for achieving your aims?
  • Do you have the necessary resources to carry out your methods?
  • Which positive and negative controls will you use?
  • Do you have the required ethics and regulatory permissions? For example, if your experiment will have animal subjects, you will probably need approval from your institution’s review board. If you are publishing a clinical trial then you need register it in a clinical trials registry. Not getting the correct permissions will stop you from publishing your work in reputable journals.
  • Will your experiment have enough statistical power to give useful results? Is your sample size large enough to draw valid conclusions? Which statistical tests will you use for your analysis? If you are not sure, consult a statistician; they can provide you with expert advice that may save you a lot of time.


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