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BIT 815: Rigor and Reproducibility in Research


Rigor and reproducibility are interrelated yet distinct qualities of a research study. Research can be executed with technical rigor, but nevertheless it might be irreproducible due to issues related to incomplete publication of materials and methods or unwillingness to share data or/and reagents. Likewise, research can be completely transparent but lacking the proper controls and statistical analyses we expect of a rigorous study. This course educates graduate students in the life sciences, at a critical point in their training, about these issues.

Course content and flow:

Course overview and Functional definitions

Rigor in Experimental Design and Analysis

  • Experimental variables and design of control experiments
  • Quantification and bias
  • Replicability and statistical analysis

Research Documentation and Transparency

  • Research protocols, metadata, and laboratory notebooks
  • Reproducibility of published research
  • Data and reagent sharing

Rigor in Presentation of Data

  • Interpretation of results and strength of evidence
  • Presentation of data in figures

Robustness of Scientific Conclusions

  • Experimental “systems” and generalizability