Skip to Main Content
Select Libraries are open. Online resources and support are available 24/7! Please see our COVID-Update page for reopening dates and hours starting in September. UW Libraries COVID-19 Updates
IACUC Protocol Searching Overview
Literature Searches for Protocols Submitted to the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)
Investigators are required to consider suitable alternatives to any procedures likely to cause animals pain or distress.
Investigation of suitable alternatives should address the 3 R's:
- Replacement: Can the proposed animals be replaced with insentient animals or non-animal models such as in vitro or in silico methods?
- Reduction: Can comparable levels of information be obtained from the use of fewer animals? Is maximum information being obtained from a given number of animals without increasing pain or distress?
- Refinement: Can experimental methods be refined to eliminate or reduce animal pain or distress?
Each literature search should be conducted in at least two databases. If you want, you can search two databases at once by using either:
- Embase which includes both Embase and Medline content;or
- Web of Science which includes the Web of Science Core Collection and Medline content if you select "All Databases."
A useful approach is to:
- Search for papers that are studying what you are studying in your protocol.
Determine if you are duplicating work that's already been done.
Review these references to look for experimental refinements and other potential ways to address the 3 R's.
- Conduct a separate search, consult an expert, or review other resources to look for:
in vitro, in silico, or non-mammalian alternatives; and/or
techniques for reducing pain and distress.
Overall Approach for Literature Searches
Step 1: Identify Key Concepts and Procedures in Your Protocol
- Generate a list of search terms - including synonyms - based on these key concepts.
Step 2: Select Appropriate Databases
Step 3: Develop Your Search Strategy
Step 4: Document Searches