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IACUC: Animal Alternatives

Audience: Principal Investigators, IACUC members, and IACUC support personnel

Contact a Librarian

Combine your knowledge of research questions and technical terms with the searching expertise of an information specialist or medical librarian to achieve more optimal results. UT Librarians are here to help you in a variety of research tasks, so feel free to reach out to one.

Jeanine Williamson Fletcher: Veterinary Medicine:

Chat with Pendergrass staff in a text-based chat window.

Reach out to one of the other subject liaison librarians using this directory.

Evaluating Your Search

Conducting a literature review is typically an iterative process. The following questions may help you to reflect on your experience and determine if you should improve and repeat your search.

How many citations were found?

  • If there are too many results, consider using narrower, more specific terms. If too few results were found, use more general search terms.

How many databases were searched?

  • Because any single database will not have complete coverage of relevant literature, your literature review should use multiple databases.

What terms were used to search for animal testing alternatives?

  • Be sure to use synonyms for "alternative" to retrieve more complete search results.

What period of time in the literature was searched?

  • Be sure to search literature as far back in time as possible to fully examine possible alternatives.

Are the search terms used relevant to protocols in the study?

  • Your results will only be as useful as your search, so be sure to use terms that are related to the protocol in your study.

Are the search terms used appropriate for the databases that were searched?

  • Which subject headings and terms are indexed will vary from database to database. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the different indexes by examining thesauri specific to each site.

Reporting Results

According to 9 CFR 2.31 (d)(1)(ii) of the Animal Welfare Act, the researcher must have "considered alternatives to procedures that may cause more than momentary or slight pain or distress to the animals, and has provided a written narrative description of the methods and sources, e. g., the Animal Welfare Information Center, used to determine that alternatives were not available."

This narrative summary of the researcher's alternative search should at least include the following elements to convey a reasonable effort was made to determine the availability and practicality of alternative methods:

  1. The date the search was conducted
  2. The period of time that was searched in the literature
  3. The names of the databases used to conduct the search
  4. Keywords and search strategy that were used, such as search queries
  5. Other sources consulted, which may include individuals' names, qualifications, summary, and date