I'm writing a systematic review on endothelial cell cultures undergoing a certain treatment. In all studies included, the cultures come from an immortalized cell line. I'm assessing bias in the studies, following the Cochrane tool for critical appraisal, and noticed that many of the protocols do not describe random allocation of treatments. Furthermore, the Cochrane tool is specifically developed for RCTs, and a few of the questions feel only loosely applicable to the specific conditions of in vitro studies. As far as I know, there's no critical appraisal tool specifically developed for in vitro studies of cells, only human or animal studies.

I'm probably getting caught in the weeds here, but I have a few questions. Would random allocation of treatment vs no treatment potentially harm validity, if all the cells come from the same cell line and are essentially identical? If we deem random allocation non-applicable to the specific context of in vitro cell culture experiments, is it kosher to modify the Cochrane tool and omit random allocation as a criterion?

Hope this makes sense. Thanks for your help.

  • 2
    This question might be more viable in a different site, but, even if people here do deem it too technical, it seems to me a very good question... :) Commented Sep 25, 2023 at 22:50
  • Welcome to Academia SE! This is a great question, but it is outside the scope of this particular site. Note in the desccription of appropriate topics at academia.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic: "Please do not ask … about the content of research and coursework rather than the processes of researching, teaching, and learning. Most likely, there is a Stack Exchange site dedicated to your field, where such questions are a good fit. If not, you may help creating a new site on Area 51."
    – Tripartio
    Commented Sep 26, 2023 at 6:45
  • I think you should be able to get an appropriate answer on the Medical Sciences SE instead: medicalsciences.stackexchange.com
    – Tripartio
    Commented Sep 26, 2023 at 6:46
  • Thank you all so much! English is a second language for me and I didn't immediately understand the difference between content and process of research. I see now, and I'll repost.
    – springbok
    Commented Sep 26, 2023 at 12:37
  • I’m voting to close this question because it has now been cross-posted at medicalsciences.stackexchange.com/questions/32528/…
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Sep 26, 2023 at 14:28