Searching the Literature for Animal Testing Alternatives : a Tutorial

Tutorial for researching alternatives to animal research

Step 2: Choosing Keywords to Form the Question

question markTo build your search, you must:

  1. Make a list of keywords specific to your research protocol
  2. Make a list of relevant keywords for the reduction, refinement, or replacement of animal research subjects (the "Three R's").

Record these keywords at the beginning of your literature search so that you are able to both be consistent across searches and provide the required narrative account of your literature search in your IACUC application. If you make changes or additions to your list of keywords as you search, include those changes in your records.

Protocol Specific Keywords

You must search for alternatives that are specific to your research protocol.


Required Keyword Types:

Note: DO NOT attempt to use each in every search; you will run multiple searches.

  • Painful or distressing procedures in your protocol

Additional Useful Keyword Types:

  • Scientific and common names of any species or model being studied
  • Scientific and common names of any diseases or conditions being studied
  • Generic name, trade names, and CAS RN of drugs and/or chemicals being used
  • Treatments being used
  • Scientific and common terms for tissues, systems, or cell lines being studied
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