Skip to Main Content
Research Guides

Animal Welfare & Laboratory Animal Alternatives (IACUC Searches): Documenting Searches

Conducting literature searches required by the Animal Welfare Act and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). Identifying ways to reduce pain or distress in laboratory animals. Support for UW IACUC protocols

Documenting Your Searches

Documentation of searches should be clear and detailed enough to be reproducible by someone else.

  • Rather than listing a string of keywords, document how your search terms were combined.


Information to document for each search:

  • Names of the databases
  • Date the search was conducted
  • Publication years searched, e.g. 2018 to present
  • Detailed search strategy.  Include the search terms and how the terms were combined.
  • Number of search results


Documentation Example

A search for experimental refinements or methods for reducing pain & distress when doing a craniotomy in mice.

Embase - search conducted February 26, 2021.  Publication dates 2010 - present.

Search strategy retrieving 39 references:

(craniotomy OR (cranial AND window) OR (cranium AND window))
(pain OR painful OR suffer* OR welfare OR analgesia OR analgesic)