Skip to Main Content

Systematic reviews

A quick guide to introduce you to systematic reviews

Managing the screening process

It is recommended that you use a reference management tool or screening software to manage the process of screening, documenting and referencing. 

There are a range of subscription tools available on the market designed to help streamline the systematic review process. This blog post outlines some of these tools and their functionality.

This page covers some freely available resources that Exeter students and staff can use.

Systematic review specific tools

The university does not have an institutional subscription to any specialist systematic review tools such as Rayyan or Covidence.

Reference management software

You can set up folders within your reference management software to manage your search process. Try setting up folders to organise the studies you find and make the screening process easier.


EndNote desktop includes thousands of referencing styles, including all the major referencing systems such as Harvard and MLA, and the preferred styles for the leading academic journals. It is therefore very easy to create citations and bibliographies in the correct style for your purposes. EndNote desktop is installed on the public cluster PCs across our campuses. It is covered by the University’s EndNote Site Licence, which allows installation of the software on any University-owned PC at no further charge per copy.

Students and staff can download a 'loan' of EndNote on their personal computers. To find out more and download visit the software service catalogue. (In the Home Software hub, you'll need to search for Endnote for it to appear as an option).

Easy to follow instructions are available to help you set up an Endnote Desktop, Premium or Basic online account.

You can use Endnote to de-duplicate references found across multiple databases.

Online training and help materials are available.

This article provides an introduction to article screening using Endnote:

Micah D. J. Peters (2017) Managing and Coding References for Systematic Reviews and Scoping Reviews in EndNote, Medical Reference Services Quarterly, 36:1, 19-31, DOI: 10.1080/02763869.2017.1259891


Is a free reference manager and an academic social network designed to help researchers find and work with collaborators. Although you do have to download the program, it is free and web-based. This means you are not restricted to working on any single computer and have access to your data from anywhere in the world as it is stored remotely. Although you can link to any of the usual sources for your bibliographic data, the program extracts metadata from any documents you download and allows you to search the full text of PDFs you have collected. You currently cannot use Mendeley to de-duplicate references found across multiple databases.

Guides to using Mendeley can be found here.

Access Mendeley here.

For more information about referencing and tools to support this, please see the referencing guide.

Contact Us or Give Feedback