Alternatives Searching and Strategies for Animal Research Protocols

Step 3: Select & Search Databases

After constructing a good search question, the next most important step in literature searches is selecting a good database. Databases vary by the type and number of records they contain, their dates of coverage, the formats of literature they consider (i.e., books, articles, and/or multimedia items), and the scope (or subject area(s)) of the database.

When searching for animal research alternatives, it is very important to look in more than one database. While your first instinct may be to look only in PubMed, there are a wide variety of other options that will usually give you different but just as relevant results. On the following pages we have indexed a number of possible databases from which you may choose (click on a heading to see options in each category):

Specialized Alternatives Databases - These databases are available for free on the Internet. In general, they are small collections of citations that have been either collected by the database provider or have been culled from larger databases such as AGRICOLA. While several are affiliated with U.S. government or academic institutions, many have a more international focus.

Free Online Databases - Unlike the specialized databases listed on the above linked page, these databases tend to be focused on a general subject area, such as medicine, agriculture, and toxicology. PubMed and AGRICOLA are included in this list as well as two databases indexing federally-sponsored research and a number of toxicology indexes.

University of New Mexico Subscription Databases - These databases are only available to UNM-affiliated researchers, staff, or students. As with the free databases, most of our subscription databases focus on a general subject area. You may be surprised by the inclusion of physics and computer science databases, but these can be helpful for researchers looking for computer models.