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Animal Welfare: Literature Searches

The 3Rs

REDUCTION: minimize how many animals are used.

REFINEMENT: use techniques and procedures that minimize pain and distress.

REPLACEMENT: substitute animal models with non-animal techniques or lower organisms.

Adapted from: Russel, WMS and RL Burch (1959). The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique. Universities Federation of Animal Welfare: England, 238 p.

For further information, please consult:

Need Help?

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact any of the following:

Valerie Perry
Head, Agricultural Information Center
Phone: (859) 257-2758

Rick Brewer
Director, Medical Center Research & Education
Phone: (859) 323-5296

Susan Foster Harper

Medical Center Reference Commons
Phone: (859) 257-0752

Mark Ingram
Medical Center Reference Commons
Phone: (859) 323-6568



"...the performance of a database search remains the most effective and efficient method for demonstrating compliance with the requirement to consider alternatives to painful/distressful procedures."

USDA Animal Care Policy Manual  (See Policy 12)

The literature search sections in eSirius must, at a minimum, include:

  • Names of the databases searched (minimum of two databases)
  • Date(s) the search(es) were performed
  • Period covered by the search (minimum of 10 years)
  • Keywords and/or the search strategy used (may be attached or typed)
  • Results (total number for each query) and explanation of relevancy.


Searching Tips

  • Select the appropriate databases for your research project. (Note: PubMed is one version of MedLine, so searching both counts as only one database.)
  •  Search a minimum of 10 years. (Note: terminology may change over time.)
  • When selecting appropriate keywords, be sure to include related terms/phrases.
  • Use Boolean Logic (AND, OR, & NOT) as appropriate to form search queries.
  • Use wildcards to search multiple word endings simultaneously.
  • Save your search strategy to reuse as needed.

Popular Databases

These databases are among the most frequently used in literature searches involving animal research. Click on the Databases tab at the top of the page for a more complete list of databases with descriptions.