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EndNote 21: Systematic Reviews

A basic guide to installing and using EndNote 21.

What is a Systematic Review?

A systematic review is a synthesis of materials, using highly specific and reproducible methods to look at and appraise all studies and other work for a research topic. EndNote supports this process in a variety of ways that will be outlined in the guide.

Starting a Systematic Review

Before you start a systematic review, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the terminology involved. You can find a comprehensive list here.

Step 1:
Create a new EndNote library. Remember to save it on a local drive, not on a synced one such as OneDrive or iCloud. Be sure to save your work frequently, with clear file and date names listed.

Step 2:

Before importing your records into EndNote, it is a good idea to set up template libraries. This will save you time in creating these after the records have been imported into the library, and you can create these based on term lists for specific journals. For more information on how to import term lists and their functionality, see this guide from University College London.

Step 3:
Move your references into groups as your project requires, ensuring that you tag them as you go along; this will ensure that they become easier to find as you work through the systematic review process. To tag them, click on a link, then select edit, as indicated in the top right-hand corner of the image below. From there, click on 'manage tags', which will allow you to tag information however you see fit. Choosing the subject matter and the name of the database that you got the material from are good places to start.

Step 4: 

Once you have your research library completed, you may want to go through the de-duplication process. This will help you remove any records that have multiple copies, ensuring you just have one of each. EndNote allows you to choose up to 15 comparison fields to ensure that you do not miss any duplicate records.

Step 5:
Once you have completed your de-duplication process and you reach the second review stage, you should then use the find full-text feature in EndNote to retrieve the full material for the review. Information on how to do this can be found on the previous page of this guide, and in the box to the right.

Further Tips and Advice on Completing Systematic Reviews

Find Full Text

There are two ways that you can search for full-text copies of research material that you are working with. Before getting started, make sure that you have downloaded EndNote Click to your browser. You should use Chrome or Firefox when working with EndNote Click, with Firefox being the preferred option.

Step 1:
When you are in your library, go to All References on the left-hand side menu, and then select the resources that you would like run through the Find Full Text feature, as indicated in the image below.

Step 2: 

From there, you can follow the path through the top menu in the image below.

Step 3:

Alternatively, you can select the magnifying glass  image to search for the full text copies.

Step 4:

EndNote will then search for full-text versions of the articles, and results will be indicated on the left-hand side menu. If a PDF is found, it will automatically be added to your library. If no full-text PDF can be found, EndNote will add either a link to the URL, or indicate that no further information has been found.

General Tips on Performing A Systematic Review

The video above, from UCL's Dr Amina Yonis, gives an excellent and thorough overview of the systematic review process as a whole. Although it does not cover using EndNote, you will get a lot of valuable insight on the many other steps that are needed to run an effective systematic review.

Sharing Group Libraries with EndNote


The video above works through the process on EndNote 20, but creating combination groups works in exactly the same way on EndNote 21.