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IACUC Literature Searches: Reviewing your results

Questions to Consider

After performing your searches, you'll need to review them. Often times it doesn't go well the first search or two and it you'll need to make some revisions to your search. Below are some questions to consider while reviewing and deciding what to do next.

In General

  • How many results are there? Too many or too few?
  • Was your search string too long or specific, or perhaps too short and vague?


  • Did you choose a/n appropriate database/s?
  • How many databases did you try?


  • Are the keywords related to the protocol?
  • What keywords did you use for alternative searching?

Unintentional Limiters

  • Did you check the spelling, and or allow for different spellings of the same word (what about similar allowances for abberviations)?
  • Did you have an extra search limiter on you didn't intend to (e.g. year of publication, languages, or format)?

Boolean Logic and Symbol Usage

  • Is your Boolean logic correct (especially the use of parenthesis, for the order of operations)?
  • Did you format the search string correctly for each specific database (e.g. use of specific symbols for truncation, wildcards, and phrase searching)?