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IACUC Protocol Searching Overview
This guide is designed to help you conduct literature searches for IACUC protocols. Each page addresses a different aspect of this process.
Please download a 1-page PDF checklist for an overview of recommendations.
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:
- Reduce the number of animals used
- Refine techniques and procedures to reduce pain or distress
- Replace animals with non-animal or non-mammalian methods or materials
Each literature search should be conducted in at least two databases. You can accomplish this by using either:
- Embase (which encompasses both Embase and Medline);or
- Web of Science (a search platform) and selecting "All Databases."
A useful approach is to:
- Focus on finding well-designed studies that are studying what you are studying in your protocol.
- Review these references to look for animal model refinements and other potential ways to address the 3 R's.
- Conduct a separate search to look for (1) in vitro, in silico, or non-mammalian alternatives and/or (2) techniques for reducing pain and distress.
Overall Approach for Literature Searches
Step 1: Identify Key Concepts 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