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Embase: Limits and Filters

What is a Limit?

When you have carried out a topic search in Embase, limits are a way of reducing the number of records you find.  

Limits can be found at the top of the results page:

Screenshot showing Limits

In addition to those shown above, you can limit by: publication type, language, age, gender, animal.

  • The publication type filter allows you to restrict your results to journal articles or reviews, for example.
  • The EBM filter allows you to restrict your results to systematic reviews or randomised controlled trials, for example.
  • Quick limits allows you to restrict your results to human studies or those containing a clinical trials number.

The limits come from Emtree terms.  When you add a limit you are basically searching for the Emtree term and its subheadings.  So adding the limit 'humans' is adding humans/exp to your search.

What is a Filter?

A filter is another way of reducing your search results.  Filters are found in the left-hand column of the screen:

Screenshot showing Filters

When you select a filter, it will only show you the terms which are relevant to your result set. The number in the right-hand column tells you how many of your Embase results contain that term.

The study types filter may be of particular interest as it helps you to find a wide range of different medical studies such as different phases of clinical trials, randomised controlled trial or observational study.

Screenshot showing Study types

Filters also come from Emtree terms but they are applied differently, without subheadings. Adding the filter 'Human' is equivalent to adding human/de to your search.

You can apply more than one filter in one go or you can apply them singly: this will not produce the same results!