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Animal Alternatives Searching: Search Strategies

Guidance for Researchers

Constructing Your Search Strategy

Once you have identified your search terms, consider the following strategies in order to most effectively search in databases.

Keywords should be used in combination with defined subject headings to increase the precision of your search. Many databases have help pages so you can learn their specific features. If you would like assistance with developing your search query, schedule an appointment with a librarian

Phrase Searching " "

" " 
To search for specific phrases, enclose them in quotation marks. The database will search for those words together in that order.


tail clipping

trio breeding

Boolean Logic: AND/OR


Join together search terms in a logical manner.

AND - narrows searches, used to join dissimilar terms
OR - broadens searches, used to join similar terms


genotyp* AND "toe clip" AND alternativ*

stress* OR distress*

(screen* OR feedback)

“major depression”


Truncation *


Truncate a word in order to search for different forms of the same word. Many databases use the asterisk * as the truncation symbol.


Add the truncation symbol to the word handl* will find handle, handled, handler, handles, and handling.

You do have to be careful with truncation. If you add the truncation symbol to the word rat*the database will search for rats, ratio, ration, etc.