What should a protocol include?

A protocol is a document that is created to tell staff how an experiment or trial needs to be conducted. It needs to consist of the following elements:

  • Title, host and staff contact details, trial number, location, authorisations and compliances
  • What the aim of the trial is and what you are trying to find out
  • The statistical design- number of variables, repetitions, trial design, layout and statistical analyses
  • A treatment list
  • Other required or excluded inputs
  • Any standard operating procedures (SOPs) that you need in order to standardise the methods that are used in the experiment. These may be application or data collection SOPs. They ensure that all staff are doing procedures in the same way. 
  • A timetable of how the trial is intended to run
  • Materials required
  • Assessments, records and data collection required
  • Any other relevant information like growth stage keys


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