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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 select one of the suggested terms. Note that you can see the number of results you will get for any term in Emtree.

Once you've selected your term you will see it's place in the Emtree hierarchy on the left and information on the term on the right:

From here you can see the results for a term by clicking on 'Show ### results', or you can build a more complex search using the 'Query builder'.

Explosion and Major focus

When you do an Emtree search you will have the option to choose how the database searches for your term:

Explosion 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.

Clicking on each search type will give a summary of how exactly your term will be searched, and you can see at a glance how many results each search for your term will return.

Synonyms in Emtree

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

These are not automatically included in an Emtree search, but you can add them using the /syn search option. This performs an Explosion search for your term and adds all available synonyms as free text in all fields. Clicking the copy button to the right will allow you to paste all synonyms elsewhere, e.g., in a Word document.