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Systematic Reviews: Conducting, finding and appraising: 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 research guide to get started.  It only takes a few minutes to set up an account with such tools as Zotero and Mendeley

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:

SysRev: SysRev is a collaborative platform for managing the screening and data extraction phases of a systematic review, map or other knowledge synthesis project. It includes a powerful machine learning algorithm trained during the screening process and aiding in the bulk exclusion of low relevance research. SysRev provides both free and paid versions, which allow for public and private projects, respectively. Access SysRev at this link:

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:

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:

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: