AWIC, or the Animal Welfare Information Center of the USDA, identifies these points of concern for search evaluation in their very useful Conducting Literature Searches : Addressing the Search for Alternatives brochure:
Use the following suggestions to avoid raising these red flags and help to make your search more effective.
The main problem that literature searchers encounter is finding either too much or too little information.
Did you find fewer citations than you expected or needed? Consider these potential issues:
Did you find too many citations?
Searchers also need to be careful to include a broad enough range of time and possible sources in their overall literature search.
Are you searching an adequate time period?
Did you search in enough sources?
Searchers must consider the quality of results that they find to be sure that they are adequate. Are you finding relevant results? If your results do not seem to match your search question, consider these potential issues:
Are your keyword terms related to your specific search protocol?
Are your animal alternatives keywords useful?
Are your keyword terms appropriate for the databases you searched?
Did you format your search query appropriately for the specific database?