Skip to main content

A Guide to Conducting Systematic Reviews: Managing the process

Citation Management

Citation management help

Citation management is essential in a systematic review. There are a number of citation management tools available that are compatible with many of the databases and resources you'll use.  Visit the citation management help page to get started.  It only takes a few minutes to set up an account with such tools as Zotero and Mendeley.  If you are affiliated with the College of Human Ecology or CALS, you can download Endnote at the links indicated in the box below.

To learn how to use these and other citation management tools, consider a workshop at Mann Library or Olin Library.

Endnote Licenses

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and the College of Human Ecology (CHE) provide Endnote software to faculty, graduate students and undergraduate students affiliated with those colleges.  For more information, see the following links:

CALS EndNote

CHE EndNote

Tools for Managing a Systematic Review

There are a number of tools available to help you manage the various stages of a systematic review--in particular, the process of title/abstract screening, full text screening, data extraction and quality assessment. Below are a few such tools.  Generally, these are all used in conjunction with a citation management software such as Endnote, Mendeley or Zotero. 

Excel: Excel is the most basic tool for the management of the screening and data extraction stages of the systematic review process.Customized workbooks and spreadsheets can be designed for the review process, and lists of references can be exported from citation managers into Excel format for screening. A more advanced approach to using Excel for this purpose is the PIECES approach, designed by a librarian at Texas A&M. The PIECES workbook is downloadable at this guide.

Rayyan: Rayyan is a free online tool that can be used for independent screening and coding of studies in a systematic review. Rayyan uses tagging and filtering to code and organize references.  Access Rayyan at this link: http://rayyan.qcri.org/.

Covidence: Covidence is an online systematic review management tool that allows for independent title/abstract screening, full text screening, data extraction and risk of bias assessment.  It is currently free. Access Covidence at this link: https://www.covidence.org/.

DistillerSR: DistillerSR is a popular tool for systematic review management.  It allows for the management of the entire systematic review process with multiple independent reviewers.  This tool is available with a monthly subscription fee. Access DistillerSR at this link: https://distillercer.com/.

RevMan: RevMan is used by Cochrane reviewers to manage the data extraction and analysis process. It is a free tool that is geared toward Cochrane-like reviews. Access RevMan at this link: http://tech.cochrane.org/revman.