14. Guidelines,  systematic reviews and meta analysis


Click arrow for a pdf of “Guidelines for “The Design and Statistical Analysis of Experiments Using Laboratory Animals”

Festing and Altman

Important information which is essential should the work need to be repeated, or if it is to be included in a systematic review or meta-analysis is often omitted.
The “ARRIVE”  guidelines and GSPC (Gold standard Publication Checklist), which overlap to a large extent, provide checklists of information which the authors should consider when designing their experiment and preparing their manuscript. Not all the items will be relevant to every paper, but all should be considered.

Main table from
The ARRIVE guidelines

Or click arrow for a pdf of the paper

Main table from

Or click arrow for a pdf of the paper

ARRIVE guidelines
GSP guidelines

Systematic reviews and meta-analysis

Scientists doing applied research  should consider doing a systematic review of the literature, i.e. one which aims to be based on all qualifying published (and in some cases un-published) papers. In some cases this might be extended to a meta analysis. The publications below will be of interest to anyone considering this approach:

A step-by-step guide to systematically identify all relevant animal studies. Leenaars M, Hooijmans CR, van Veggel N, ter Riet G, Leeflang M, Hooft L, van der Wilt GJ, Tillema A, Ritskes-Hoitinga M.Lab Anim. 2012 Jan;46(1):24-31

A search filter for increasing the retrieval of animal studies in EMBASE is also available (de Vries et al 2011) Laboratory Animals 2011; 45: 268–270. DOI: 10.1258/la.2011.011056. and a similar filter for studies in PubMed is available from Hooijmans CR, et al (Lab Anim 2010;44:170–5)

A meta analysis is the statistical analysis of a collection of a large number of individual studies in order to reach an over-all consensus. An introduction to the techniques involved is given by Ellis, P.D. “The essential guide to effect sizes”, Cambridge University Press, 2010. The magnitude of the response to a treatment is usually assessed using the standardised effect size described in section 6 (as a signal/noise ratio).

A meta analysis of ischemic preconditioning in the animal kidney, provides an example of the sort of study which can be done (Wever, KE 2012, www.plosone.org, 2012 | Volume 7 | Issue 2 | e32296)

Arrive guidelines