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Alternatives to Laboratory Animals - ATLA

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Experimental Design: Computer Simulation for Improving the Precision of an Experiment

Henk van Wilgenburg, Piet G. van Schaick Zillesen and Iva Krulichova

An interactive computer-assisted learning program, ExpDesign, that has been developed for simulating animal experiments, is introduced. The program guides students through the steps for designing animal experiments and estimating optimal sample sizes. Principles are introduced for controlling variation, establishing the experimental unit, selecting randomised block and factorial experimental designs, and applying the appropriate statistical analysis. Sample Power is a supporting tool that visualises the process of estimating the sample size. The aim of developing the ExpDesign program has been to make biomedical research workers more familiar with some basic principles of experimental design and statistics and to facilitate discussions with statisticians.