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Library Research Guides


Provides resources, strategies, and information on conducting research in pharmacy.

Why Search Embase?

Embase includes the MEDLINE database, the core of PubMed, but it also contains more international journals & indexes pharmaceuticals more precisely.  It's a good database to use in conjunction with PubMed, especially in projects where you need to search more comprehensively.  If you search only one database, you'll miss a significant amount of the available literature.

Remember that when you use a different database, you may need to use other search terms.  Articles in Embase are indexed by Emtree terms, which can differ from MeSH terms.

Running a Search

You can simply copy & paste the PubMed search in Embase on the main, or Quick Search, page.

Embase 1st search

Search Results

In this case, you've retrieved a very small set of results, so small that you know that many articles have been missed.  An initial search might also not be as focused on the topic as you would want.

Embase Search Results

You can see how Embase "translated" your search in the box above the Search button at the top of the page.  It's mostly a keyword search.  How do you create a search in Embase that will give you access to Emtree (indexing) terms?

Revising Your Search

When each term is entered separately, you get a larger set of results.  This can be good or bad.  You need to scan the citations to see if you need to revise your search to find useful articles.

Embase Search Results

Search Tip - Finding Emtree Terms Easily

If you enter one search term at a time into the search box, you will see that Emtree terms appear below the box. You can accept (by clicking them) or not. When you do accept the Emtree term, the word(s) will appear in the search box within single quote marks.

Embase Search box with Emtree terms below search box

Note the default settings underneath the search box. "Search as broadly as possible" is checked; Embase will search for results using both keywords & Emtree terms. Uncheck this box if you need to narrow your search to citations that are indexed only.

Below, you can set a publication date limit. Either accept "all years" by doing nothing or uncheck that box & choose years from the dropdown lists.

Focusing Your Search with Filters

Filters will help focus the search further. In Embase, there are some filters at the top of the page & another set (some of which are the same) on the left. At the top, I'll use the Quick Limits tab to add Humans and English language. Apply the filters by clicking the Search button above. To find filters for Randomized Controlled Trials & Systematic Reviews, click the EBM tab. To find Reviews, click Pub. Types.



From the left, I can select an Age category; I can also find RCTs & SRs under Study Types & select dates from Publication Date.  Click the Apply button at the top or bottom of the list to apply these filters.

Search Tip - Cited Reference Searching

A useful tool, cited reference searching, lets you look into the future, at articles that have referenced an article in your list of results.  In Embase, you'll see a Cited by:[#] notation after many articles, which tells you that this article has been cited by that number of articles in a particular database.

picture of article with "cited by" notation in the Embase database

Click on the link to be taken to the list, in this case, provided by the Scopus database.  Be aware that there may be more articles that have cited this article, because no database includes all published articles.