Free eLearning resource on blinding in animal experiments

20 August 2020

Posted by: UAR news team

Category: Communications & media

Free eLearning resource on blinding in animal experiments 

A new free eLearning resource designed by the British Pharmacological Society (BPS), primarily designed for bioscience undergraduatesexplores the complex question of blinding in animal experiments.

The concept of blinding as a strategy to remove bias from experimental results is generally well understood when it comes to humans but might seem less obvious when we are dealing with animals. After all, a human is capable of understanding the difference between an active treatment and a placebo, say, and is likely to have expectations about outcomes from each that can affect the way they respond, something that can hardly be said about animals. But evidence has grown that small differences in the way test animals are handled and treated by scientists and techniciansdriven by their all-too-human subconscious hopes and desires, can affect the way those animals respond to an experiment and significantly interfere with the reliability of the data that comes from it. 

Making sure the administration of animal studies is properly blinded and that afterwards the results are interpreted blind – that is without prior knowledge of which specific treatment each animal has received – is the only way to make sure that data is reliable which means that the animals are being used with proper care and concern. As so often, what is good for the science is good for animal welfare too. 

This resource delves into all these questions and explores what a well-designed, properly blinded animal experiment should look like through a lively animation accompanied by interactive multiple-choice questions and a literature review task. It will be invaluable for anyone who needs to analyse literature and/or data generated from studies involving animals. 

To access the resource, you need to create a free account here. Once logged in, click ‘eLearning’ followed by ‘Pharmacology: Research Animals – Experimental Design – Bias – Blinding’. Finally, click on the green ‘view’ box for access. Your account will remember your progress and notes made within the resource.

For more information on this resource please visit the BPS website.