In natural and social science research, a protocol is most commonly a predefined procedural method in the design and implementation of an experiment. Protocols are written—or in some cases electronically recorded—whenever it is desirable to standardize a laboratory method to ensure successful replication of results by others in the same laboratory or by other laboratories. Additionally, and by extension, protocols have the advantage of facilitating the assessment of experimental results through peer review. In addition to detailed procedures, equipment, and instruments, protocols will also contain study objectives, reasoning for experimental design, reasoning for chosen sample sizes, safety precautions, and how results were calculated and reported, including statistical analysis and any rules for predefining and documenting excluded data to avoid bias.

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