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Animals in Research: Searching Alternatives : Search Strategy

Search Tips

  • It is suggested that you conduct a broad search of the literature that looks for different methods that have been used to conduct similar research.
  • A basic and broad search would likely only include synonyms for the painful and/or distressing procedure or topic and the animal species or non-animal methods.
    • Example PubMed search, narrowed to titles and abstracts: Thoracentesis[tiab] AND (dog[tiab] OR dogs[tiab] OR canine[tiab] OR canines[tiab])
    • Example Scopus search, using Advanced Search: 
      • TITLE-ABS (Thoracentesis) AND TITLE-ABS(dog OR dogs OR canine OR canines)
  • It is necessary to search a minimum of TWO databases. PubMed and Scopus are highly recommended.
  • For more advanced searching in PubMed, you may include Medical Subject Headings (MeSH terms) that are used to label articles. PubMed will automatically try to find and include Mesh terms when searching for keywords without tags, e.g. [tiab], otherwise they may be found in the Mesh database.
  • Browse through the search results, reading in detail those you find that appear specific to your area of study. 

See more search examples and find resources for PubMed Training.

Boolean Operators

Understanding how to correctly use Boolean operators to construct your search is important!                                                                                                                       


AND     Narrows search to only items containing both terms; best for combining 2 concepts heart attack AND aspirin                         
OR Broadens search to items containing any terms; best for combining synonyms heart attack OR myocardial infarction
NOT Narrows search to items containing 1 term but not another; use with caution dolphins NOT football