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Research Guides

Animal Welfare & Laboratory Animal Alternatives (IACUC Searches): General Search Tips

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

Search Tips for All Literature Databases

AND Retrieves items that contain both terms. Good for combining topics to narrow a search. retina AND regeneration
OR Retrieves items that contain at least one of the terms.  Expand a search by allowing for synonyms. regeneration OR regrowth
* Retrieves word variants, such as regenerate, regeneration, regenerated regenerat*
" " Retrieves the exact phrase contained by the quotation marks. "retinal neuron"
(   ) Tells search system how to combine terms and in which order.
Article needs to mention "retina" and EITHER regenerat* OR regrow*.
retina AND (regenerat* OR regrow*)

Combine Searches Using AND

Example in Web of Science.  Looking for alternatives to a skin sensitivity assay on live animals.

Search #1 - protocol concepts:

(skin OR dermal) AND (sensitiv* OR sensitiz* OR sensitis*) AND (assay* OR model*)

Search #2 - possible alternatives:

(simulat* OR silico OR artificial* OR digital* OR virtual* OR cadaver* OR “non animal” OR “in vitro”)

Combine the two searches with AND.

Use Filters to Narrow Your Search

Database filters help you narrow your search.

Most databases permit filtering by:

  • publication date/range of years
  • language of article
  • publication type: review article, meeting abstract, book chapter

Filter options are typically on the left side of the search results screen.

Use of NEAR in Web of Science or Embase

In Web of Science and Embase, use NEAR to require that two words appear within a few words of each other in the title or abstract.  Specify how close they should be using the format NEAR/#.

Embase example:

(lung OR pulmonary) NEAR/3 fibrosis

Web of Science example:

TS=((lung OR pulmonary) NEAR/3 fibrosis)