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IACUC: searching for animal alternatives

A guide for finding alternatives to the use of animals in research for Penn State.


This is a resource for animal researchers who need to complete an alternatives search for an IACUC protocol. 
More information can be found on the Penn State IACUC page:

Searching for animal alternatives is typically guided by the "3 R's":

  • Reduction - Minimize the number of animals used to smallest number needed to obtain statistically relevant results.
  • Refinement - Use techniques that reduce the incidence or severity of pain and/or distress in animals.
  • Replacement - Substitution of non-animal methods or material or a lower species that may be less sensitive to pain and distress.

First described in The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique by Russell and Burch (1959).

Use the tabs in the left column to navigate to information on

  • determining keywords and terminology to search
  • developing appropriate search strategies
  • determining core and alternative databases to search
  • writing the protocol
  • basic animal care guidelines