Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Animal Alternatives: Literature Searching for Animal Research: A Guide

Search strategies and advice for IACUC Literature Search

Step 2: Construct the Search Strategy

Once you have selected a variety of keywords to use, it is time to build your search query. Remember that not all databases use the same search terms,

  • Boolean Searching: Use the connector terms AND & OR to structure your search query. You can construct a particularly powerful search query by using parentheses ( ) to nest concepts together.
  • Truncation Searching: Many databases will let you search for multiple keywords with the same root by using a truncation symbol such as * or ? at the end of the root (ex: using handl* will find handle, handled, handler, etc

  • Phrase Searching: If you are looking for words are always next to each other, search for them as a phrase by surrounding them with double quotation marks.
    • Example: "blood sampling"
  • Keyword vs. Subject Heading Searching: Our focus so far has been on searching by keywords, or natural language. Subject headings, a system of controlled vocabulary used to classify information into specific categories, provide a very powerful way to locate focused, on-topic results. 


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.