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Embase: Emtree search

Why use Emtree?

Perhaps the biggest problem with searching for a topic is that different authors will use different words for the same topic.  If the database did not have an index you would have to think of every possible word for your topic and include it in your search strategy. For example:
prosthetic* OR prosthes* OR artificial limb* OR artificial hip* OR artificial knee*…

To avoid this, Embase has a list of controlled index terms - Emtree - that can be applied by its indexers. If you can find the right Emtree index term you should find all of the literature regardless of which words the author used.

Find a term in Emtree

Click on 'Emtree', enter a single topic, and click 'find term'.

Screenshot showing Find Term

Click the blue link for your term to find it in Emtree together with the number of results you will get.

Screenshot showing Emtree term expanded

Click 'Add to Query Builder' then 'Search'.

Explode and focus

When you do an Emtree search you will see these options:

Screenshot showing Explode and focus

Explode is checked by default and it means you will search for your term and all of its subheadings. So in this case you will search for pharmacist or clinical pharmacist or community pharmacist or hospital pharmacist.

Major focus is a function added by the Embase indexers to terms describing the main topic(s) covered in a journal article.  If you check this box you will receive fewer results but they are likely to be more relevant.

A problem with Emtree searches

When you look at a term in Emtree, you will see synonyms listed:

Screenshot showing synonyms

These are not automatically included in an Emtree search, you would have to add them manually.

They can be automatically added in a PICO search.