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Animal Alternatives Searching: Searching: Step by Step

Guidance for Researchers

Steps in the Research Process

1) Identify Your Search Terms    

Brainstorm possible search terms and locate subject headings. Consider terminology specific to your research methods, potentially painful or distressing procedures, and related to the 3R's.

2) Draft a Search Strategy

Think about how to put these terms together into a search strategy in order to most effectively search the database. The search strategy may include Boolean operators, truncation, and/or phrase searching to expand or limit your search.

3) Select & Search Databases

For a search of this magnitude and importance, you need to search a minimum of two database. Tailor your keywords, subject headings, and search strategy for each database. 

4) Evaluate Your Search

Literature searching is not a linear process. It is important to stop and evaluate your results as you go along in order to make modifications and improvements to your search strategies. Literature searching is an iterative process!

5) Manage Your Results

As you  are conducting your search, record the information that you have located. A citation manager can help you to organize your search results.

6) Report Your Results

You must provide a written narrative of your results.  There are a number of minimum points which you will need to include in that narrative, including information about the search strategies and databases that you used.