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Systematic Reviews

Managing the Research

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Further reading:

How to write a great research paper using reporting guidelines - A toolkit for writing research from the EQUATOR Network.

Reporting Guidelines

One of the first hurdles to get over when writing up a research plan or reporting the results of your study is finding the appropriate reporting guideline.

  • The EQUATOR wizard will help you choose the right reporting guideline for your work. A few examples for generic study types are listed below. 
  • The EQUATOR search will allow you to browse a library of reporting guidelines, or search for a specific checklist.

 (Click image to navigate to EQUATOR main)

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Citation Management Tools

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 guide to get started. It only takes a few minutes to set up an account with such tools as ZoteroMendeley and Endnote Online. For more advanced features, you may consider purchasing the desktop version of Endnote

Endnote Resources

Below you will find selected resources to assist you with various functions on Endnote.

Zotero Resources

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Downloading large results from EBSCO

In EBSCO databases, find a link called "Email a link to download exported results." This will allow you to download the results in RIS file format and import that RIS file into Zotero.

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For more tools, check out:

CADIMA - Try this open access tool for all stages of your systematic review project!

The authors of this paper state, "CADIMA is the only available open access tool that is designed to:

  1. assist throughout the systematic review/map process;
  2. be suited to reviews broader than medical sciences;
  3. allow for offline data extraction; and,
  4. support working as a review team." 

Kohl, C., McIntosh, E. J., Unger, S., Haddaway, N. R., Kecke, S., Schiemann, J., & Wilhelm, R. (2018). Online tools supporting the conduct and reporting of systematic reviews and systematic maps: A case study on CADIMA and review of existing tools. Environmental Evidence, 7, 8.



  • Systematic Review Assistant (SRA) offers users a reliable program to remove duplicate records with greater sensitivity and specificity than EndNote. SRA aimed to reduce the amount of time taken to produce systematic reviews by maximizing the efficiency of the various review stages such as optimizing search strategies and screening, finding full text articles, and removing duplicate citations. This application can save researchers and information specialists time and avoid research waste. For more information, visit the OMICTOOLS ' web site and a review article.


  • 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.
  • Distiller is designed for screening and data extraction phases of systematic reviews. Free for student as a single user for one project for 1 semester with no collaboration with other users,
  • 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. Citations can be uploaded from RefMan, EndNote, BibTex, CSV or zip file formats.
  • 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.
  • GradePro is used to create summary of findings tables. Free for single-users and non-profits. 


  • Academic Phrasebank - Get some inspiration and find some terms and phrases for writing your research paper.
  • GradeProof can be used for writing your manuscript. Automated high-quality spelling, grammar and rephrasing corrections using artificial intelligence (AI) to improve the flow of your writing. Free and subscription plans available starting from $10/month.
  • RevManHAL is an extension to RevMan to automate the writing of systematic reviews (created by the Cochrane Collaboration Schizophrenia Group). 
  • Oxford English Dictionary - Use to locate word variants.

Text mining


  • CitNetExplorer is a software tool for visualizing and analyzing citation networks of scientific publications. The tool allows citation networks to be imported directly from the Web of Science database. Citation networks can be explored interactively, for instance by drilling down into a network and by identifying clusters of closely related publications.


FEE BASED_________________________________

  • Covidence - Create and maintain your systematic review throughout screening, selection and extraction phases (starting from $240 per year). 
  • Distiller is designed for screening and data extraction phases of systematic reviews (starting from $15/month for students and $75/month for faculty). 
  • EPPI-Reviewer is a web-based program used to manage your systematic review through all stages of the process from bibliographic management, screening, coding and synthesis (starting from $14/month).
  • CMA (Comprehensive Meta-Analysis) is a software that will compute effect size, treatment effects and create forest plots (starting from $125/year).    


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Disciplinary Resources