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IACUC Alternatives Searching

A literature review for alternatives is a legally required component of a protocol classified as category D or E. This guide will walk you through structuring an effective literature review, selecting databases to use, and provide helpful tips in developi

Web of Science

Web of Science & Field Tags

Web of Science does not feature a controlled vocabulary, and thus might be quicker to translate a responsive and topical search. One thing that it is a good idea to look out for in Web of Science, is that your field tags aren't bringing in wildly irrelevant results.

A good rule of thumb is to search using the topic field when conducting an alternatives search. The topic field includes the fields: title, abstract, author keywords, and keywords plus - in other words, the content-based fields. As a default, the Web of Science will search in all fields unless told otherwise. This will include fields like the author, author's organizational affiliation, and journal title, all of which are not relevant fields in a content-based search.

Quotations for multi-word terms

In Web of Science and other Clarivate databases, the use of the quotation marks to indicate multi-word terms is a must. If quotation marks are not used, the search will automatically connect the two (or more) terms with the AND boolean operator. This can potentially bring in drastically different results than intended.


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