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Unit 2: Generating Data

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of these animals’ lives and the impact this has on the many years of important work conducted by our researchers,” said a representative of New York University after Hurricane Sandy hit the city in 2012 and drowned “thousands of lab mice” kept in the university’s Smilow Research Building (Engber, 2012). For many researchers, loss of important sources of data—such as the lab animals in this incident—can be worse than a nightmare: it might mean a career end.


Night scene of Manhattan, New York City, with a large section of the cityscape without lights.

Figure 1 Hurricane Sandy Caused a Power Outage in Manhattan. 
(Sandy Poweroutage by Hybirdd / CC BY-SA 2.0)



This unit introduces practical strategies for generating high quality data as well as relevant ethical principles and regulatory agencies that govern data collection from human and animal subjects.


Learning objectives

After successfully finishing this unit, you will be able to:

  • Describe the situations in which existing, observational, or experimental data best serves the research purposes;
  • Explain different research group members’ responsibilities for ensuring data integrity;
  • Recall three ethical principles that govern human subjects research and explain the role of IRB;
  • Explain the role of IACUC in animal research.