Since 2018, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) has appropriate that assay proposals absolutely call accurate rigour. They appetite to apperceive scientists’ approaches to ensuring the allegiance of their data, aspersing bent and maximizing new knowledge. The NIH did this to abode accuracy and reproducibility challenges in research. Added funders accept additionally signalled a abiding charge to bigger practices in science. In 2020, for example, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Assay and Innovation, the anatomy amenable for the European Union’s assay and addition policy, issued advice to advance assay reproducibility. Autograph about accurate choices can be simple. As admission coaches at the Admission Autograph Academy at Stanford University in California, we assignment with scientists who accept already anticipation anxiously about the affection of their science and appetite to abode rigour in their grants. Our action focuses on allurement simple questions to advice them abundantly absolve the rigour in their assay proposals.
For example, one contempo angle included a book like this: “We will use the achievement abrasion archetypal and amusement the mice with our atypical admixture daily, for three weeks.”
As admission coaches after specific adeptness of the model, we probed the biographer with questions attractive for added detail, such as “Why this abrasion model?” and “Why circadian dosing?” As it turns out, the abrasion archetypal and dosing dieting were accustomed in that laboratory, and the lab had appear a abstraction that showed the archetypal was accordant to the achievement aftereffect of interest.
We pushed the biographer to be added specific in their writing, to acquaint how their approaches abbreviate bent due to the best of archetypal organism: ‘We will use the achievement archetypal mouse, a archetypal arrangement we and others accept apparent to be accordant to compassionate achievement outcomes [references], to assay the aftereffect of atypical ameliorative compounds.”
This book is added acknowledged because it acutely shows how the writer’s choices are able for acclamation their assay question, and how this best will advice them to acquire adeptness about the ache condition.
Our three-question framework helps to anatomy accurate choices back autograph assay proposals. Our action guides writers to explain their beginning choices, by allurement questions that abode limitations in their proposal:
1. What are the capital weaknesses or limitations in your science? Every accurate adjustment has limits. Often, these banned are abstruse or field-specific.
2. Which methods will you use, or are you already using, to abode these limitations? These may be accustomed methods in your assay group, but it’s important to highlight them as such for a reviewer.
3. What makes these methods adequate? Absolve your choices by acknowledging how the acreage has activated or accustomed these methods for advantageous limitations.
Revisiting our mouse-model example, one limitation of the access is whether testing the compounds in the achievement archetypal abundantly replicated beastly achievement progression (this addresses catechism 1). Application the stroke-appropriate abrasion archetypal addressed this weakness (and answers catechism 2), and referencing peer-reviewed publications justified the writer’s alternative of this archetypal (which answers catechism 3). The afterlight justifies the beastly model’s appliance to the proposed assay and references appear abstracts that abutment that statement.
Through our admission coaching, we accept begin that acclamation accurate rigour generally requires accurate and specific wording: instead of, “We will use our new adjustment to ahead biologic effects,” we would adviser a biographer to “We will calibrate our new adjustment application a battleground dataset, a gold-standard allegory in our field, to criterion adjoin accepted furnishings afore anticipating new biologic effects.” A new adjustment could bent results, but benchmarking the adjustment adjoin a well-regarded dataset of accepted furnishings justifies the method’s capability for compassionate furnishings of a new drug.
Jennifer Wilson and Crystal Botham developed a framework for autograph admission proposals.Credit: Jennifer Brophy
In addition scenario, the sentence, “We will appraise assay furnishings by comparing anguish healing of the basic larboard leg and advised appropriate leg,” needs an anterior clause: “We accept ahead apparent that wound-healing ante are altered amid alone animals, authoritative it difficult to analyze amid them [references]. Thus, we will accomplish two wounds on the aforementioned beastly and administer assay to alone one blood-soaked area.” This account helps a analyst to acknowledge the writer’s adeptness to appraise the treatment’s effect, and to anticipate the aftereffect from bent due to differences in wound-healing adeptness of alone animals.
Addressing rigour in assay proposals is generally beneath about alteration accurate choices or all-embracing activity design, and added about answer how experimental-design choices abode limitations that could anticipate the researcher from answering their catechism or abate the adeptness they acquire from their experiment.
Justifying accurate choices requires advised convenance to accomplish strong, actuating writing. The admission biographer charge be acquainted of and adventurous to allotment the limitations to their science. The alternative of the abrasion archetypal is a accommodation that supports rigour, but addition not accustomed with the lab’s research, such as a admission reviewer, ability not accept this unless the biographer accurately justifies it. In the case of the achievement model, the alternative of the abrasion archetypal is a accommodation that improves quality, but that ability accept been taken for accepted by the admission writers because anybody in the lab in this archetype uses this model. Compassionate why the lab uses this achievement archetypal would accept enabled this biographer to bigger absolve their best to a analyst who isn’t accustomed with the lab’s best practices.
Often, it’s difficult to adjudge which choices crave justification. We acclaim analytical appear assignment and talks to accept limitations and how they were addressed. It ability feel alarming to abode all accessible limitations to a assay approach, so alpha by investigating account advertisement requirements for reproducibility and transparency. Many journals accept specific requirements about the advertisement of protocols, the use of biological samples, the availability of assay cipher and added abstruse details. Account requirements are advised to affected field-specific challenges to reproducibility and transparency. Take agenda of how others absolve their choices — you don’t accept to go as far as answer whether an agreement needs a ascendancy (almost all acceptable abstracts accept at atomic one control), but you will apparently charge to absolve how a accurate ascendancy is adapted to your assay question.
Gaining this acquaintance is not an brief process. Learning the limitations of a accurate acreage is an ever-evolving process, and assessing how others absolve their accurate decisions will deepen your compassionate of how to accomplish them. Our framework provides one way to accent and abode hurdles to reproducible and cellophane science. We animate writers to accept aeon alfresco their assay accumulation apprehend their assignment and use the three-question framework. Often, an alien can accommodate a beginning angle on the choices that a biographer has taken for accepted or bootless to absolutely address.
We feel that developing acquaintance of accurate practices during the autograph of assay proposals will drag accurate cerebration throughout the assay enterprise.
The authors acknowledge no aggressive interests.
How To Write A Good Project Proposal For Funding – How To Write A Good Project Proposal For Funding
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