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 confident that study findings truly address their research questions. Advances in computing speed, creation of literature databases, and widespread availability of connectivity to the Internet have led to unprecedented access to information for veterinarians and their clients. All of these changes have made it essential that veterinarians develop skills to efficiently acquire, evaluate, and interpret a continuously growing body of scientific literature to support their clinical decisions.
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