Literature Searches for Animal Testing Alternatives

For help completing IACUC protocol applications.

General Search Strategies

  • Ask a librarian for help
    • The UTSA IACUC Research Librarian is available (free of charge) for individual consultation or group workshops on everything from how to do a literature search to saving your searches using Endnote 
  • Utilize different databases
    • Don't just stick to a single familiar database
  • Get to know the database
    • Databases treat symbols, operators, and search strategies and terms differently.
    • Before starting your search, look for tutorials, “Help” links, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), or advanced search options. 
  • Use the database thesaurus to find better terms and phrases
    • Some databases come with their own “thesaurus”, like PubMed’s Medical Subject Headings (MeSH; National Library of Medicine).  
  • Start out searching more broadly and then slowly narrow your results by adding keywords one at a time
  • Add more and/or unique terms to your search statement
  • To save time on future protocols, keep a record of your searches either in a citation manager (like EndNote or Zotero) or in a text file (e.g., Word or PDF)

*Not all strategies and operators are applicable for all databases and resources