Section 3 Systematic Reviews & 3Rs

The principles of the 3Rs (Replacement, Reduction, and Refinement) are a framework for humane animal research. Systematic review is a valuable tool for advancing the 3Rs, primarily through reduction and refinement of animal use in research. Using existing animal data, systematic review can contribute to improvements in animal studies including:

  • Providing reliable data to support sample size calculations for various experimental outcomes
  • Allowing comparison of the statistical performance of different experimental outcome measures
  • Characterising the extent to which subjecting animals to multiple tests contributes to additional knowledge
  • Assessing whether the same information can be provided by less invasive tests


For more examples of systematic reviews which implement 3Rs and animal welfare, please see Ritskes-Hoitinga & van Luijk, 2019.

The Guidelines for Reporting Primary Animal Research are: ARRIVE 2.0