After brainstorming your keywords and synonyms, you need to combine those terms into search strings using the Boolean operators.
Use parentheses around each concept (keywords linked with OR) to force the systems to search in the correct order.
Best practice would be to include at least the past ten years or more.
The Search Strategy Builder is a tool designed to teach you how to create a search string using Boolean logic. Put synonyms in the columns for each specific concept, and when finished, "click to create a search statement." You can copy/paste the search statement into the standard database search boxes to run your search.
When searching PubMed it is often a good idea to use the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) to find relevant articles. MeSH headings are assigned to each article within PubMed by its staff and are intended to be consistent across articles. This allows them to return more relevant and consistent groups of articles when searched.
PubMed provides a searchable MeSH Database to help you identify the best terms for your search, which includes many that apply to a literature search for alternative research methods in animal studies.
You can also search only the title and abstract of the publication for your terms, this also increases the relevancy of your results.
See below for some PubMed search examples.
Note: the tag [Mesh] searches for the term in the Medical Subject Headings used by PubMed.
Note: The tag [tiab] searches for the term in the title and abstract of the article in PubMed.
Combine these with terms describing your protocol or animal species.
("Pain"[Mesh] OR "Pain Management"[Mesh] OR "Anesthesia and Analgesia"[Mesh] OR "Analgesics"[Mesh] OR "Analgesics"[Pharmacological Action] OR "Anesthetics"[Mesh] OR "Anesthetics"[Pharmacological Action] OR "Animal Welfare"[Mesh] OR "Animal Use Alternatives"[Mesh] OR "Stress, Psychological"[Mesh] OR "Stress, Physiological"[Mesh] OR stress[tiab] OR distress[tiab] OR pain*[tiab] OR analgesia[tiab] OR analgesic*[tiab] OR anesthesia*[tiab] OR anesthetic*[tiab] OR welfare[tiab] OR alternative*[tiab] OR “Disease Models, Animal”[mesh] OR “animal model”[tiab])
Combine these with terms describing your protocol or research.
(("Computer Simulation"[Mesh] OR simulation[tiab] OR "Cadaver"[Mesh] OR cadaver[tiab] OR "Aborted Fetus"[Mesh] OR "aborted fetus"[tiab] OR "Culture Techniques"[Mesh] OR "Cells, Cultured"[Mesh] OR "cultured cells"[tiab] OR "cell culture"[tiab] OR "cell cultures"[tiab] OR vitro[tiab] OR "Models, Theoretical"[Mesh] OR model[tiab] OR models[tiab] OR modeling[tiab] OR modelling[tiab] OR "Manikins"[Mesh] OR manikin[tiab] OR manikins[tiab] OR mannequin[tiab] OR mannequins[tiab])) AND (("Imaging, Three-Dimensional"[Mesh] OR three-dimensional[tiab] OR 3D[tiab] OR 3-D[tiab]) AND (image[tiab] OR images[tiab] OR imaging[tiab]))
“Cats”[Mesh] OR cat[tiab] OR cats[tiab] OR feline[tiab]
"Dogs"[Mesh] OR dog[tiab] OR dogs[tiab] OR canine[tiab] OR canines[tiab]
"Guinea Pigs"[Mesh] OR guinea pig[tiab] OR guinea pigs[tiab]
"Mice"[Mesh] OR mice[tiab] OR mouse[tiab] OR mus[tiab] OR murine[tiab]
(("Primates"[Mesh] NOT "Humans"[Mesh]) OR "non-human primate"[tiab] OR "non-human primates"[tiab])
“Rabbits”[Mesh] OR rabbit[tiab] OR rabbits[tiab] OR lagomorpha[tiab]
"Rats"[Mesh] OR rat[tiab] OR rats[tiab] OR rodent[tiab] OR rodents[tiab]
"Sheep"[Mesh] OR sheep[tiab] OR ovis[tiab] OR ovine[tiab]
"Swine"[Mesh] OR swine[tiab] OR pig[tiab] OR pigs[tiab] OR porcine[tiab]