Skip to Main Content

EndNote: Systematic Reviews

Reference management software

Which Reference Manager to choose

You don't have to use EndNote to help you manage your references but we strongly recommend that you use something. Referencing software allows you to collect, organise citations and references and insert them into your documents and will then format them into your preferred style and create a bibliography for you.

The other software to consider are Mendeley, Zotero, BibTeX as well as the EndNote Online which is the much simpler version of EndNote Desktop. These are not supported by the University as they are free to download so all technical help must be addressed to them. More information here on each to help you make up your mind. 

Endnote can save you time.

Conducting systematic reviews means finding and sorting large numbers of references, you could be dealing with thousands of citations from many different databases. Endnote can help you manage this process.

  • Endnote can easily import large numbers of references from many different databases and resources.
  • Endnote will de-duplicate them for you quickly.
  • Endnote can record where references were obtained and record the process of screening using Custom Fields and Smart Groups.
  • Endnote can be shared with up to 14 researchers enabling collaborative working.

Importing large numbers of references into Endnote

To save you time we have written guides on how to download large amounts of references into Endnote from different databases. Please let us know if you would like any others included. 

How to de-duplicate

De-Duplication is a quick easy way to ensure you will not have to screen the same article twice.

  1. First select the All References group
  2. Then go to References > Find Duplicates
  3. 2 boxes will appear - you can compare them and select the best reference to keep. This is useful if you only have a small number to compare but if you have many thousands, you can decide to bypass this step by....
  4. Click Cancel on the dialog box that opens, this will highlight all duplicates immediately
  5. Then drag all shaded references in to a group folder if you need to record de-duplication or Trash if not.

Customising Fields and Groups to support the systematic review process

Custom Fields can be used to create a place where different researchers can record their screening decisions, making it much easier to share decision making. See the following article for methods for using EndNote for systematic reviews: King, R., Hooper, B. and Wood, W. (2011) 'Using bibliographic software to appraise and code data in educational systematic review research', Medical Teacher, 33(9), 719-23,

You can use EndNote to merge libraries to quickly view screening decisions, Please watch these 2 screencasts from the ESMI team at the Medical School at the University of Exeter for more information. You can also follow the logic using the poster they produced.

Screencast 1 of 2

Screencast 2 of 2