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Systematic and Systematic-like Reviews

Establishing a workflow

Plan how you're going to manage the files and records for your review well ahead.

Use a search planner as a living document throughout the process. Deakin University has a suggested search planner here which you could adapt. Or try the spreadsheet devised at Monash University, which has a different sheet for each database searched.

A PRISMA flow diagram will be useful for organising a workflow for your review, including recording the number of results you have after each stage of the screening process.

Sumari and Rayyan are specifically designed to help you manage all the steps of a systematic review, while the groups and de-duplicating functions of EndNote will be really useful, especially if combined with thematic tagging in Nvivo.

Organising your literature


EndNote is software that can be of great help with any type of review. See our EndNote Library Resource Guide for detailed instructions on how to download this tool and use it to organise your literature, store your PDF files and generate lists of references.

EndNote is particularly useful for systematic reviews as (among other things) it enables you to:

You may also consider inserting the inclusion and exclusion criteria checklist into a notes field in each EndNote record.

More detailed information can be found in the University of Newcastle's guide, EndNote Tips for Systematic Reviewers.

For help with EndNote, contact a Faculty Librarian or attend one of our online workshops.


NVivo can be used with EndNote to help you identify articles, key findings and influential authors when conducting a literature review. NVivo can import PDF files and bibliographic information from EndNote, organise and tag literature, help you keep track of critical quotes and track ideas.

See our EndNote and NVivo for Literature Review Library Resource Guide for detailed information about using NVivo with EndNote. We also run online workshops on this from time to time, so check our calendar for upcoming sessions.

Systematic Reviewing Software


SUMARI stands for System for the Unified Management, Assessment and Review of Information, and it's published by the Joanna Briggs Institute at the University of Adelaide. SUMARI "facilitates the entire review process, from protocol development, team management, study selection, critical appraisal, data extraction, data synthesis and writing your systematic review report. ... a word processor, reference management program, statistical and qualitative data analysis program all in one easy to use web application." [from].

Follow these detailed step-by-step instructions to learn how to log in with your Ovid Personal Account (or create one if you don't have one), and also how to accept an invitation if you have been invited to join a SUMARI project as a reviewer. Once you have set this up, you can access JBI SUMARI directly.


Rayyan is a free online tool that can be used for screening and coding studies in a systematic review. It supports collaboration between reviewers, and includes a mobile app for convenient screening wherever you are. See the Rayyan for Systematic Reviews guide from McGill University for further advice on this tool.