6 steps to writing a Knowledge Summary


Veterinary teams need practical evidence-based tools to solve patient problems efficiently. In the veterinary profession, as in human medicine, a great deal of time is spent making decisions in a complex and often uncertain environment. The challenge to keep up with the latest research is immense.

To fill a recognised gap, we created Veterinary Evidence - an open access journal where practitioners can share the answers they've found with their colleagues, by writing a Knowledge Summary; a concise critical summary of the best available information on a defined clinical question.  

All members of the veterinary community – whether veterinarians or nurses, farrier or orthodontists, students or certificated experts – are invited to share their knowledge and experience. Together, we can achieve what we entered the veterinary professions for: improve animal health globally based on the highest standards of evidence-based care, so that animal owners and users at home, in the fields, and in the food chain, can be assured that animals are healthy, happy and well cared for. 

Writing a Knowledge Summary can also count towards your annual CPD requirements. The RCVS recommends a minimum CPD engagement of 35 hours per year, see more about what counts as CPD and how to log your activities here

To make writing a Knowledge Summary as simple as possible, we have created an easy guide below, to help you get started.

You can contact the Managing Editor of Veterinary Evidence with any questions or queries throughout this process.


Step 1: Ask an answerable question

The first step to writing a Knowledge Summary is writing an answerable question.

To do this we use the PICO method:

P – Patient or Population

I – Intervention(s)

C – Comparison

O – Outcome

For help on writing your question please refer to our EBVM Toolkit 1.

A well-formed answerable question will help ensure all of the relevant articles are found and will reduce the chance of leaving anything important out. It will also make it relatively straightforward to identify appropriate search terms and to combine them in the search strategy.

We also have a list of online Clinical queries for you to choose from, which have been submitted to us via our online form.

Once you have your question, please then contact the Managing Editor for more information and guidance.


Step 2: Conduct a literature search

Our library team helps all Knowledge Summary authors in creating their search strategy, giving access to papers, and in searching the literature for free. Contact us to get started.

They will help you to develop a systematic search strategy so you can logically search the scientific literature for suitable studies.

You can use the EBVM Toolkit 2 (Finding the best available evidence), to help you identify synonyms and other related terms.

The search strategy date should be no older than 2 months at the point of submission. Searches can be rerun by our library team if needed.


Step 3: Appraise the evidence

Examine the quality of the study, as well as how well it relates to the clinical situation – are the findings relevant to your clinical setting/situation?

EBVM Toolkit 3 introduces the ‘levels of evidence’ a study provides, and EBVM Toolkit 4 can help you identify the study design. 


Step 4: Download a template

Write your Knowledge Summary using a downloadable template from Veterinary Evidence. This will help you reach a clinical bottom line, as well as key points from each study, appraisal and reflection upon these findings in clinical practice.

For more guidance on writing your Knowledge Summary, see Guidance on Scientific Writing and our Guidelines for authors.


Step 4: Submit your summary

Once you have read the author guidelines you can submit you Knowledge Summary to our online system.

See more about our editorial process here.


Step 6: Relax!

You have just contributed to the evidence base that will help other veterinary professionals undertake evidence-based practice. And remember to log your hours of quality CPD!

For further detailed information and resources please visit How to write a Knowledge Summary 


View Guidelines for authors