Veterinary clinicians typically read the scientific literature to become better educated and thereby improve the quality of their clinical decisions. Whether this objective is met depends on the scientific validity of the studies evaluated and the similarity of the hypotheses tested to a specific clinical question. A focused approach to answering a specific clinical question or questions is important to avoid placing undue emphasis on preliminary data or extrapolating results beyond the populations to which they pertain. One approach to minimize potential misinterpretations and optimize time spent reading the literature is to use a strategic method of literature evaluation.
Scientific literature can be used in veterinary practice to make better clinical decisions for the benefit of patients, clients, and society as a whole. Developments in the 20th and 21st centuries have provided tools that allow and compel veterinarians to move beyond simple clinical observations and experience when making judgments regarding health and disease of animals. Methods have been devised to control bias (systematic distortion of results away from the truth) and confounding (distortion of the apparent relationship between 2 variables by a third factor) in multiple types of research study designs, and these methods allow researchers to be more
The volume of veterinary information is rapidly expanding, and with each passing day, the knowledge gained during one's veterinary school education becomes increasingly outdated. Veterinary practitioners face challenges when trying to build on existing clinical knowledge with additional information from the scientific literature to make better clinical decisions. Although veterinary medicine is built on scientific principles, incorporation of information from the scientific literature into clinical decision making is challenging for both new graduates and experienced practitioners. One of the largest obstacles is the amount of time required to accurately assess scientific information; however, a systematic approach to literature review enhances