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IACUC: The 3Rs and the Literature Search

Definitions of Terms


  • Alternatives: an aspect of replacement, reduction and/or refinement applied to minimize animal pain and distress, consistent with research goals.
  • Refinement: ways to reduce animal pain and/or distress within the study.
  • Reduction: ways to reduce the number of animals that are used for the study.
  • Replacement: ways to remove animals from the research to achieve scientific goals.
  • Literature Search: specific requirement of USDA/APHIS Policy #12. Implied requirement of the U.S. Government Principles, OLAW and The Guide.
    • Can be used in conjunction with expert consultations, workshops, and other sources to demonstrate research beyond the investigator’s laboratory, for additional and comparative information prior to starting work with animals.
  • Key words: words that are specific to the study. They describe both the animals and aspects of the research that may cause pain or distress.
  • Databases: electronic publication collections. There are many that cover specific subject areas. It’s unlikely that one database will have all alternatives related to a study.