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Kornhauser Health Sciences Library

Animal Research: 3R's Search Terms

This guide provides users with information on best practices for literature searches conducted for animal research.

General info

When searching it is important to remember that you simply cannot search for "alternatives to painful procedures." When searched in a database, the word "alternative" will return articles with the word "alternative" in them, not articles that discuss specific alternatives to painful procedures. This is why taking time to think through your search is important. 

Included in this tab are alternative search terms that can be used when searching databases. They do not need to be used all together, and their combination and inclusion/exclusion will depend on the research you are doing. Refinement alternatives are often found when using terms relevant to the study.

This is not an exhaustive list, but should act as a guideline or idea generator.

Refinement & Reduction Alternatives Terminology

  • analgesic or analgesia or pain reduction
  • anesthetic or anasthetic or anaesthetic
  • animal welfare or well-being
  • animal model
  • assay or technique or method or procedure
  • biomarker or biological marker
  • environmental enrichment
  • euthanasia
  • experimental or statistical design (pilot study, variation, sample size, etc.)
  • humane endpoint
  • humane handling or humane restraint or humane treatment
  • husbandry, or housing, or handling or caging
  • imaging
  • monitoring device or telemetry device
  • non-invasive
  • pain or stress or distress
  • positive reinforcement or animal training
  • reduce or reduction or refinement

Replacement Alternatives Terminology

  • Animal testing alternative or animal use alternative or alternative (useful primarily in toxicology and education)
  • Cadaver or carcass
  • Cell culture, cell line
  • Computer aided instruction, computer assisted instruction
  • Computer (simulation or application)
  • Digital imaging
  • In silico
  • Interactive
  • Isolated (cell, tissue, organ)
  • Mannequin, manikin or model (non-animal)
  • Mathematical (biology or model or simulation)
  • Model (animal, cadaveric, interactive, mathematical, statistical, theoretical), modeling (US spelling or modelling (UK spelling)
  • Non-animal model
  • Organ-on-a-Chip
  • Plastinate or plastination
  • Replacement alternatives
  • Simulation or simulator or trainer
  • Software
  • Structure evaluated system
  • Tissue culture or organ culture
  • Tissue engineering
  • Video (disc, display)
  • Virtual (reality)
  • Vitro