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***This course is fully booked*** This interactive online MSD Skills training course is for MSD postgraduate research students and early career researchers wanting to understand the issues underpinning good experimental design, the bedrock of reproducible science.

You are required to attend this course on both days:

2 November @ 14:00 - 16:30

4 November @ 14:00 - 16:30


This course addresses some of the fundamental issues behind designing good experiments (focusing on pre-clinical experiments exclusively), the bedrock of reproducible science. Arguably, all good experiments start with a good experimental design.

Experimental design in the Biomedical Sciences is mostly about logic, common sense and the systematic application of relatively simple techniques to produce unbiased experimental results and reduce variation. This is good news because this should be relatively straightforward. Yet this is where the biggest blunders continue to be made, including by experienced biologists, with demonstrably expensive consequences on results.

The course will deal with those concepts, their links with statistical analyses generally and some of the traps that we have all fallen into. We will also address statistical issues relevant to animal research depending on the composition of the audience, in a session where the words “enjoyment” and “statistics” can hopefully share the same sentence. 

The course will be split into two sessions on two consecutive half days (2-4 pm on day 1 and 10-12:30 on day 2) . The sessions will be led by Manuel Berdoy, are interactive will depend somewhat on the composition and needs of the group. You may have some tasks to carry out between the two live sessions.

Please make sure you read all of the sections below relating to how the course will work, and the survey and attendance certificate policy.


At the end of the course, attendees should be able to:

  • Describe some of the factors affecting reproducibility and external validity, the possible causes of bias and ways of alleviating it
  • List the different types of formal experimental designs, and explain the concept of variability, its causes and methods of reducing it
  • Identify the experimental unit and recognise issues of non-independence (pseudo-replication)
  • Describe the six factors affecting significance, including the meaning of statistical power and “p-values”
  • Identify formal ways of determining sample size
  • Explain the fundamental principles behind the output of an ANOVA, including “blocking” and “interactions”


Maximum 45


You will be sent an invitation email via Canvas via which you can gain access an embedded Teams link to join the sessions and to relevant course material, including some pre-course work to make the live session with the tutor more beneficial. (please refer to 'This course contains pre-work in Canvas' section below).

To join the sessions, you can click on the link 15 minutes before the session starts. Once the tutor has started the session they will tell you what to do. You will be asked to access the Vevox audience response system made available during the session.


You will need to access the Canvas materials via the Canvas enrolment invitation sent out to you and make sure you go through the materials in advance of the live sessions to be able to fully participate in the course. This Canvas site will also contain the Teams link to join the live sessions.

Please note that as Canvas is a separate platform and not part of the CoSY booking system, you may need to check your junk folder if you haven't received the enrolment invitation email.


A good internet connection, uninterrupted time, camera and microphone enabled on PC.


It is now a requirement that you complete the three short questions in the survey you receive after attending the course. Once you have submitted the survey, you will be sent an email with a link to your attendance certificate. This is to ensure we receive the feedback we need to evaluate and improve our courses. Survey results are downloaded and stored anonymously.


Where no cost is indicated in the shopping trolley, no deposit is required. However, two or more consecutive non-attendances or late cancellations without good reason will be logged and may mean you cannot attend any further MSD training that term. Please refer to our Terms and Conditions for further information.