[Accessed 6 April 2020].
Thank u Derek Your lectures are effectively informative and easily understood. They are clear and organized.
I’m so glad I came across this website. Thank you Derek !!!
You’re welcome, Rabia 🙂
Thanks for your extremely useful video tutorials. Please can you send me a link to open your Lit Review Excel Templates.
Thanks for your feedback. You can download the template following the instructions in the orange box.
All the best with your studies!
Thank you for this document. I am in the beginning stages of the dissertation process.
You’re welcome, Jerry 🙂
The video on literature review was very useful. I especially like the cataloging suggestion.
Great to hear that, Rishi. All the best for your research!
I`m busy writing my minor dissertation my master’s in engineering. I’m following your videos on youtube for writing a literature review. I’m looking for the excel sheet to save a list of references.
The literature video was helpful. Thank you. I haven’t received the excel template its been a week now . Please assist me .
That’s very unusual. At most, it should take a few minutes. Please re-attempt the download (use an alternative address if need be).
Thank you for the template. it seems useful to organize my literature review.
You’re very welcome.
Thank you for this informative site and all the tips. Very useful for my research.
You’re welcome, Feyi.
Currently writing a dissertation for a masters in social sciences. Found the youtube videos which are of great help.
You’re most welcome 🙂 Good luck with your literature review.
Thank you very much for the support!!
your videos are great helpful.
Glad to hear that! Good luck with your lit review.
You are the BEST
Thanks for the feedback, Annie. I wish you best of luck with your literature review.
where is the download link for the excel template?
The download is below the first image. Good luck with your literature review!
Your videos literally saved me!!!! Due to recent issues, most of my classes were cancelled and i was completely lost. No words can explain how much grateful i am to you!!
Glad to hear we helped you! Good luck with your literature review.
You guys are the kinds of people who should survive covid-19. You are the type of people we really need in this planet. You are a star. You really saved me from many headaches. Thank you very much for the useful videos and the literature organisation spreadsheet.
Thanks for the kind words, Abel. All the best for your literature review!
Thanks so much for your video. I have consistently received comments that my arguments don’t flow well and I could never figure out how to successfully fix this issue. Now I feel I have a plan and someone to help me and provide feedback if I still don’t get it quite well. Looking forward to getting an improved mark on my next Lit review Thank you
Great to hear that, Helen. Good luck with your future literature reviews!
Thanks Biren – good luck with your literature review
i have watched your video on three steps to write a literature review and i found it very useful. thank you for sharing. keep it up.
Thank you for providing such excellent information and sources. Your videos helped me so much. I was on the verge of quitting. Thank you again for your videos and recommended tools.
Great to hear that, Tanya. All the best for your literature review, and for your research.
The video was very informative and timely for me. I am about to start, so Gradcoach is a source I will be revisiitng
Thanks, Nina – glad to hear that. Good luck with your literature review 🙂
hey your video is awesome I had to make an assignment on literature Review and it helped me to get an outline on how I should start ! i was fed of reading books and online articles. Your video served as a boon and clarified my thought process – how I should move forward .Thank you so much!
Great to hear that, Kavita. All the best with your literature review!
Hi Derek, I have tried unsuccessfully to download the Excel template but it keeps bringing me back to this comment section. Is it a technical issue? Kindly help.
Sorry about that. Can you please send me a screenshot of what you’re seeing – [email protected] . I will send you the template as well.
Best of luck with your literature review.
This is so very helpful!! I am writing my first lit review within a proposal (rather last minute, yikes) and this is so helpful to stay organized!
Pleasure. Good luck with your lit review 🙂
Hi i like the video,it is very helpful especially now that I am working on my proposal for thesis project….Hope I will be able to use the excel template to organize for my literature review
Great to hear that, Faith. All the best with your literature review!
hey Derek this video is absolutely amazing. One problem though I’m one of the few that are struggling to download excel. I keep clicking on it and nothing happens.
Thanks for letting us know. Please email me a screenshot of your error and I’ll sort you out – [email protected]
Thanks a lot! Very well explained and easy to follow…now I guess I have no excuse to actually do the work 😉
Thanks for your comment! Good luck with your literature review.
Your video is very informative and useful. Thanks a lot. I also want to try the template but I can’t the find the download link…
The download button is below the main image.
Very helpful thank you
Hi! It is a big help for beginners, such as me. Thanks a lot for sharing!
Thank you. All the best with your literature review.
This is brilliant, Pls sir, in writing a review article, how deep can u go. Is it necessary to go down to the inception of your area of research?
How do I know the country/region of research article?
This will usually be covered somewhere in the article itself.
I would like this free resource
You’re welcome to download it. The download button is below the main image. Good luck with your literature review 🙂
I’d love to have this resource pls. Thank you so much
You’re welcome to download it. The download button is below the main image.
Thanks for the you tube videos. they are very informative
Thank you so much for the full tutorial with so much detailed information. I’m a Ph.D. Candidate in China. The whole syllabus of the Ph.D. program sucks. Thanks again for sharing all this helpful information. I hope your team will getting better in the future!
You’re very welcome. Good luck writing your literature review.
It’s such a big help for me. Thank you!
I’ve watched your video on writing a research proposal. I am interested in the lit review excel template.
I have watched your lecture video on writing a research proposal. I am interested in the literature review excel template and the book write smarter not harder.
It is very helpful. Thank you for your experience sharing.
You’re welcome – good luck with your literature review 🙂
Good afternoon, I recall listening/seeing in 1 of your videos *of saving the abstract (PDF) together with the excel database. How do you do this? is it also with this excel sheet
Thank you ..your videos are a confidence booster
*How To Write A Literature Review In 3 Steps (Full Tutorial)
Wonderful work !!! Please share more !!!! I will be very happy.
Thanks so much for your precision in your presentation. I have not yet started practicing but it’s one of the best I have come across. More grease to your elbows.
I love every video on research that you ve made so far. Thanks a lot
انت رائع جدا
You’re welcome. Good luck with your literature review 🙂
Excellent work. Very helpful. I am starting in this beautiful activity of writing papers with my research . I am learning a lot. Thank you very much.
Glad to hear that. Good luck writing up your research papers!
Thank you so much for the free Excel document! It’s such a huge time-saver!
You’re most welcome, Rebecca. Good luck writing your literature review 🙂
I am so grateful that I have found you on YouTube!
In the meantime, is it better to make another excel file for another variable of the same thesis or just put all articles of all variables in 1 excel file?
Thank you very much!
The notes have been very helpful to me thank you very much for sharing
You’re most welcome, Juan 🙂
Just recently seen your youtube video. Its very information. I usually gets running out of words while writing literature review. Example: XX et al investigated, YY et al shown that, ZZ et al demonstrated…….. After 4-5 references, I feels like again am repeating the words investigated, demonstrated… Could you please shoe some references with a set of vocabularies that can be used while writing literature review section.
Thank you in advance
Thank you so much. Amazing tutorial. Am feeling educated now. Lol…
Glad to hear that, Frank. Good luck with your literature review!
Very helpful stuff, thank you so much for the free Excel! I’m going to use it for my DBA and get your YT channel.
Hi, thank you for the great insights! I was unable download the template even though I completed the form. Would you be able to help me?
Derek thanks for sharing your sacrifices. I love the clarity and confidence, it takes experience to do such.
I just downloaded the excel template for LR coupled with the explanation on how to use. I found it useful, thank you!
Do you have any recommendations for adding Key quotes from a reference ?
Great content. Template very useful
Awesome! An answer to my prayer. I found this in time I need it most. Thank you for the spirit of service.
You’re most welcome, Jojo. Good luck with your literature review.
I am really impressed. This discussion helped me a lot to reconsider a lot of issues.
Thanks for the kind words. Good luck with your literature review!
This is amazing! I really like the guidance you are giving here. However, can you throw more light on the ‘category’ columns for me? I’m really nit clear on that. Thanks
Thanks for your comment. Please see my reply to Sasquia’s question re the same thing.
Good luck with your research!
I have been sitting on an enormous amount of articles for months with difficulties in organizing them until i discovered your video on literature review (YouTube). It brought me to this page where you also had a free template for us. Research process is so much bearable now than i expected. Highly recommended for all researchers. Thank you very much.
Great template. Quick question: Are the categories KEYWORDS that I draw from each source? or pre-planned TOPICS that I come up with to organize the source content?
Thanks for your comment. You can use the category columns in whichever way works for you. It would be different for each student depending on the nature of their research and their research objectives.
Hi there, can you suggest how the corresponding literature resources are best saved into a document folder for retrieval later.
I have seen some suggesting using a unique identifier in a master tab in the spreadsheet so as to be able to create a separate tab for quotes or similar thus using the id as the link
But no one has gone on to say if they are also saving the source document in a folder and naming it 57 or author last name, title or other.
I checked out your Literature Kickstarter and the screen shot of the articles didn’t look to correspond with the catalogue. Have been meaning to sort out my reference folders for sometime and am inspired by the use of an excel spreadsheet but not sure what to name files (currently saved in theme folders) Any help would be gratefully received. Thanks
I am happy if I get a catalogue excel template on the research are of zeolite synthesis from local clay for water treatment mechanism. I need help.
I love the template! But I would like to change the name of some of the headings, used in the dropdown, i.e. change “Audio Recording” to “Podcast”. How could I do that?
Great!!! Very handy.
Thankyou so much. The excel file is really helpful. This really means and is helping a lot for me.
Hello, please, how can i get your excel document to catacogue the ideas for my literature review. Can you also assist on how to build the methodology section of my literature review? Thank you in advance.
I’m a student from Indonesia..This is very useful for me.. Thank you Derek..
What is the better, download all literatures and then log them into the excel sheet or do that for one by one?
I was utterly stressed when taking on an MSc Educational Leadership distance learning degree after 30 years of no academic studying. However, I found your literature review tutorial on Youtube and I immediately experienced a sense of calm direction. I am working full time in the Cayman Islands and am native Afrikaans speaking, so it was such a great help with my literature review for my first assignment. However, I have to write an evaluative essay for my second module and can not find any tutorial done by you about this. Do you perhaps have a template I could use? I have also used your services for editing and proofreading and am super grateful for the amazing help I have received! THANK YOU!
Hi Mr Derek,
It really really helps me to summarise my LR in Excel form and start-up writing
Hi Derek I have tried to download the template and it has failed to. I am not receiving the email either, could this be network issues.
Hi Derek I have been able to download the template. thank you for all your support. let me get started
I have downloaded the template. I would like to print out the guide so I can easily follow. Hope that is fine with you.
THANKS A LOTTTTT This template is exactly the one I needed when reading the literature review for my Bachelor’s dissertation
Thank you so much for your support ,I have downloaded your template and it is amazing .
Derek, The products you and the team members have put together continue to provide exemplary help as I finish the journey toward completing my dissertation! I wish I would have known of GradCoach during both of my MBAs. It could have helped alleviate a lot of time and frustration! I look forward to learning and seeing new things as I complete the dissertation.
Thanks for the kind words 🙂
Can data will be entered in excel sheet automatically like in Mendeley or i have to enter manually, pl?
Thank you GRADCOACH, I’m keenly following your tutorials as I’m about to start my literature review. These videos have been very helpful. So for the literature review you recommend only checking abstract, introduction and conclusion of the relevant literature?
Thanks for providing such an amazing resource.
I wish I knew about this when I was doing my masters. I’m doing my PhD now and sitting on Word files of reference lists and quotes I made for my MEd. This catalog will help me to keep everything more organized in one place. I’ve already started making your template my own by adding additional columns that are important for my research topic. One of the best features of your template is the Literature summary page. My question is how do I get the information I put into my new columns to auto-populate with descriptive statistics on the Literature Summary page?
Hi, I still don’t understand what you would put as ‘Category 1’, ‘Category 2’, ‘Category X’. Are they like the sort of big topics covered in the paper?
This is very helpful
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Updated: May 19, 2022
The workbooks are in the process of being revised. Note that the user guides are not following the same version as the workbooks.
February 28, 2022
All Excel workbooks are available online .
If you are working on a systematic review by yourself, then the ONLY workbook you will need is One-person-review_Project-name-Excel-workbook .
If you are working on a systematic review and need a means of tracking your literature searches ONLY (i.e. you are using Distiller SR, Covidence, or something similar for study selection), then the workbook you should use is Project-Name-PRIMARY-workbook-lit-searches .
Otherwise, for 2-person reviews, use the:
You will also need special styles for RefWorks or EndNote , depending on which citation management system you use. You can create your own if you know how by customizing the export fields so only the citation ID, item title, and abstract export in a tab-delimited text file.
All user guides are available online . These include:
EndNote style for Excel SR workbooks
User instructions for EndNote
RefWorks for Excel SR workbooks
User instructions for RefWorks
Excel workbook to track literature searches ONLY
Track literature search user guide
Excel workbook for a one-person review
PRIMARY Excel Workbook for a 2-person review
Cohen's kappa interrater reliability user guide
Screening workbook user guide
Full text review user guide
Resources for reporting findings are also available online , including:
PRISMA flowchart in MS Word
Search strategies template in MS Word
Topical Searches in PubMed, notably equity topics
Embase (Elsevier) Research Methodology Search Filters and Limits
Your search results are only as good as your search. Use a filter to separate the wheat from the chaff! Be sure you take a look at the blog which gives an overview of search filters/search hedges. Dev
PubMed Research Methodology Search Filters and Limits and Topical Searches
Defence and Security
Energy and Sustainability
Manufacturing and Materials
School of Management
What’s the issue?
One of the questions which often comes up when discussing the SLR process is how do I manage my references in the most efficient way during the process of going from my search results, to my final list of articles?
Each step of the SLR process has its own challenges. Firstly you need to identify your keywords, then construct your search strings, then work out the combinations of the search strings and which databases to use e.g. EBSCO Business Source Complete, ABI Inform, Scopus and Web of Science, in order to retrieve the articles which are key to your research topic.
Not all the articles retrieved will be relevant and you will need to filter your initial results sets according to your inclusion and exclusion criteria, by looking firstly at the title and abstract, and then at the full text in order to identify the final articles. At each stage you will need to be able to note:
Sounds simple enough, until you realise that there will inevitably be duplication between the sources…
The excellent news is that you can now export all of your references, with abstracts, directly from EBSCO Business Source Complete, ABI Inform and Scopus. The download option to use for EBSCO Business Source Complete and Scopus is the CSV option. For ABI Inform it is XLS.
Exporting from Ebsco
Exporting from ABI Inform
Once you have downloaded the information into Excel you can then use the power of Excel to help you tag, filter and sort your references so that you can easily identify duplicates and also keep track of which references were found in each database.
Other blog posts you may find useful
If you have any comments about this post or would like further help or information please contact MIRC .
Feature image from Pixabay
Written By: Cranfield University
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Using a spreadsheet or table to organize the key elements (e.g. subjects, methodologies, results) of articles/books you plan to use in your literature review can be helpful. This is called a review matrix.
When you create a review matrix, the first few columns should include (1) the authors, title, journal, (2) publication year, and (3) purpose of the paper. The remaining columns should identify important aspects of each study such as methodology and findings.
Click on the image below to view a sample review matrix.
You can also download this template as a Microsoft Excel file .
The information on this page is from the book below. The 5th edition is available online through VCU Libraries.
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If you’re wondering ‘what is a literature review’ or trying to figure out how to write a literature review, you’ve come to the right place. While a literature review can be a summary of sources, it can also discuss published information in a variety of formats on a specific subject area and tends to have an organizational pattern that combines both a summary (a recap of the information) and a synthesis (a re-organization or the information).
The literature review for your article, thesis, or dissertation requires keeping track of sources, their important points, and their links to each other – for hundreds of journal articles, books, research papers, videos, scholarly articles, and other references. So, it’s no surprise grad students and researchers frequently struggle with how to write a literature review.
Many university guides on the subject recommend creating a synthesis matrix for keeping track of sources, ideas, and quotations. Traditionally, this matrix was often created as a Word document, and you’ll still find many templates available online. However, more and more academics now seem to be using spreadsheets instead.
This blog post will look into the advantages and disadvantages of using Excel and Word, explore the reasons for why researchers use spreadsheets, and discuss the benefits of using a specialized writing and reference management program like Citavi.
Advantages of using excel.
Proponents of the Excel approach are quick to tout the many benefits. First, there’s no need to pay for a new piece of software, since if you already have Microsoft Office installed on your computer, you also already have Excel. Otherwise, you can also use Google Sheets which has all the options you might need.
Then, there’s the simplicity and flexibility of using a spreadsheet. Set up time is pretty low. You simply create a few columns and can get started using your literature tracking system in a matter of minutes.
Another benefit is how easily customizable the solution is – you can make the categories be exactly what you want. Need a column to track the location of a study or a specific intervention? You just need to add it. Even though Excel can get complicated if you set up formulas or other customizations, for a literature review spreadsheet you usually can just use it as a simple table.
So far, the advantages listed apply to Word as well, but Excel and Citavi have one crucial advantage over Word: it lets you search, sort, and filter. Have a vague recollection of a note you wrote but only remember one term you used in it? Use Excel’s “Find” feature. Want to sort all your notes by year of publication of your source? Nothing could be easier than sorting your “year” column in ascending order. Want to find clinical trials with female participants with a statistically significant intervention? If you set up your Excel sheet as described below under “Version 2” such combinations of queries are possible, and in Citavi, setup is even easier as it lets you save sources directly into the program and organize your literature review outline in the knowledge organizer.
Citavi interface showing outline, sources, reference meta data, and an article PDF.
So, with all these advantages, how does the Excel method work in practice?
When you search for “Excel literature review”, Dr. Elaine Gregersen’s 2016 blog post “How I use Excel to manage my Literature Review” about her personal literature tracking system is one of the first results to pop up. It’s an approach that’s still often praised in discussion threads about Excel literature tracking methods. In her own words, it’s a simple approach, but that’s what makes it work. Her approach uses a literature review spreadsheet in addition to a reference manager. She uses one sheet only and includes columns for basic citation information, keywords, objectives, methods, and conclusions. In addition, she adds in four personalized categories: happy thoughts, unhappy thoughts, her own ethical concerns, and the author’s ethical concerns. These last two columns perfectly align with her field of Autoethnography. The happy thoughts column is for notes, such as how findings relate to her own work, while the unhappy thoughts column is for times when she disagrees with an author, among other uses.
Dr. Raul Pacheco uses a similar one-sheet method, which he calls the Conceptual Synthesis Excel Dump (CSED) technique since he tosses in any literature he might be using for analysis. His setup overlaps in some ways with Gregersen’s but has a few differences; he has columns for the concept (i.e. theme), citation, main idea, three columns for notes (which function similarly to Gregersen’s happy and unhappy thoughts), cross-references, quotes, and page numbers.
A useful tip is to create a dedicated column for quotations to help separate out the authors’ exact words from one’s analysis of them or the article as a whole. This can help you inadvertently misrepresent an author’s ideas as your own when you’re later writing your literature review.
Taking the models laid out by Gregersen and Pacheco as a jumping off point, it’s easy to make some tweaks for even better usability for your own projects. Obviously, you’ll want to create columns that fit your needs. Instead of a column “main theme” you might have several “key takeaways” columns. Or a highly-personal column for how each article relates to your own work. For example, you might include only the author names and year of publication for an article rather than the full citation (in which case we’d highly recommend saving the full details in a reference management program!). Some people might want to copy the abstract the authors provide, while some will choose to write their own summaries. You can add “notes” columns or distinguish between paraphrases, comments, and direct quotations. Beyond that there are a lot of other small things you can do to make your spreadsheet work better for you, such as linking from a citation to the actual PDF, adding comments to cells, or adding drop-down lists to make data entry easier.
If you struggle with organizing your notes and memos, you could benefit from a reference management software like Citavi. Citavi lets you make notes within the program and easily connects your notes, memos, and quotes to your sources – helping you keep track of all your thoughts and research.
In Citavi, see all your notes and comments about a source in one place.
If you want to take your basic Excel spreadsheet up a notch, you can do so in several ways. For one, you can make use of multiple sheets in the same workbook. Dr. Kathleen Clarke describes her method which involves a major spreadsheet for tracking all the high-level information about a source along with minor spreadsheets which are more granular. She describes her method as a mix between Gregersen’s and Pacheco’s, but she also includes additional sheets on different but related topics and for studies she wants to read later on. One other notable addition is the use of a numbering system for her sources which corresponds to the article file names on her computer.
While there’s a lot of freedom in how you set up your Excel files, there are still some best practices you’ll likely want to follow. First, you should set up your table so that headers are marked as such. This way they won’t be sorted along with the other cells if you sort the column by A-Z, for example. Also, you’ll want to apply word wrap formatting to cells to keep content from spilling over into neighboring empty cells. This just keeps everything looking a lot tidier and makes it easier to skim through. Another handy option recommended by McQuilliam is to set up endless scrolling which keeps your column headers visible, even when you’re adding entries at the bottom of your list.
The columns you include are more or less up to you, but you’ll need a column for source information for sure to avoid inadvertent plagiarism or having to hunt down sources later on. In addition, a year column is invaluable for sorting your literature chronologically in preparation for writing your lit review. To keep track of how authors build upon and discuss each other’s work, a cross-references column can also be helpful. It’s important to make it very clear which analysis and thoughts are your own and which are those of your author.
If you’re planning on using filter features later on to search by study type, keyword, or some other criteria you’ll need to use controlled vocabulary, i.e. each concept should be referred to by a single term rather than using a bunch of different synonyms. You can define this at the start in a key on a separate sheet of your Excel workbook so that you can easily refer to it as needed. Each time you decide to add new terms, just add them to your key.
To save time, a streamlined option for organizing and categorizing your source information, notes, and quotes is Citavi, and we’ll look further into the benefits of using Citavi at the end of this post.
It’s hard to argue with the advantages of ease, simplicity, and flexibility that the Excel method gives you. But, there are still some big downsides to consider.
First, you have to set everything up yourself – it’s not already set up for you in a way that should fit most workflows. If you try something and later decide to take a different approach, you may need to go back and add in additional information for many sources you already examined.
Although search, filtering, and sorting options in Excel are much better than they would be in a Word table, the program is still a spreadsheet at heart which means that it’s “flatter” than a database. In other words, it’s less relational which makes it difficult to create complex search strings to get a subset of items that fit multiple criteria or that use more complicated search techniques such as Boolean logic or wildcards.
Another drawback is that the Excel approach involves a lot of manual entry. While some amount of manual work will always be necessary, for example, when you type up your comments or key takeaways, you won’t be able to directly extract information from PDFs (such as direct quotes or images) without using an additional PDF reader. Moreover, there are no time-saving automation options for adding source information that you might be accustomed to from your reference manager.
Speaking of reference managers, in many of the Twitter discussions around the Excel note-taking approach, there will always be a few comments asking why the person didn’t consider using their referencing software for their notes. Many proponents of the Excel approach stress that they do indeed use a reference management program to keep track of their source information but that they prefer to keep their notes and analysis in a separate Excel file. One of the reasons is that even though many reference management programs let you group references into folders and tag them with specific terms, they don’t let you easily keep track of and categorize notes on a particular source. You basically get a single notes field and that’s it. No way to categorize, group, or tag the note itself, just the source as a whole.
While this is true for many reference manager programs, there’s one that goes above and beyond its competitors – Citavi! While we’ve explored how it’s possible to create a literature review with Excel and Word, it is not the most efficient way available. With Citavi, you can easily keep track of, categorize, and connect your sources – all in one place.
Citavi is a reference management program that has been designed with extensive knowledge organization for any number of sources in mind and may, in many cases, be a better alternative to the Excel method.
Citavi lets you automatically add source information for most journal articles. Then, you can read PDFs and save notes and memos directly in the program. Annotating in Citavi is as simple as how you would on paper as you can highlight sections of text in colors that indicate whether it’s an important section, a section you might want to cite, or a passage that you’d like to analyze more closely. The only difference from annotating on paper is that these notes – which can be summaries, indirect quotations, direct quotations and comments – are always linked directly to their location in the PDF, so if you ever have to look up the context for one of your own comments or a direct quotation again, one click takes you directly to where you need to go and makes it easy to create your annotated bibliography.
Page numbers are saved automatically, as long as the PDF metadata includes that information. Otherwise, you just need to enter a page number for an article with the first “knowledge item” you save for it. Citavi will then add all the rest automatically.
Citavi keeps track of your meta data so it’s easy to follow one of the hundreds of citation styles available in the program.
Although the knowledge item types are pre-defined, the many options will fit most needs, and you can also always use either the keywords, categories, or the core statement field to designate the type of note you are adding if you want more customization. Any terms you use can later be searched or used as filters (more on that below). In addition, for the reference as a whole you also have pre-defined fields for keywords, groups, evaluations, abstracts, notes, and cross-references. This lets you classify at both the reference and note level, so, if you want, you can assign different categories or keywords for a source as a whole and for a statement you find in it. If you need additional source fields, there are nine custom fields which you can rename and format with drop-down options.
Where Citavi really shines against Excel is in its search features and integration with Word and NVivo 14. You can create and save complex searches that combine or exclude certain terms, keywords, categories, note type, year, etc. You can make use of advanced search syntax, such as boolean operators, wildcards, and regular expressions. You can rate sources and filter by rating. And, you have full-text search across all of your PDFs.
You can also view project statistics at a glance or use an add-on to do an analysis by author or another criteria. With Citavi and NVivo 14 integration, you can go beyond reference management by creating a springboard to collect references and thoughts, analyze literature, and connect empirical data with NVivo’s analysis tools – helping you dig deeper into your research and speed up your publishing time.
But the best part is that all of this information can be taken directly over to Word. You have all the analysis and quotes you’ve saved in a panel at the left and can just click to insert what you need. Citavi will insert the correct citation formatting and add an entry to your bibliography at the end. If you added your notes to an outline in Citavi, you can use the “Chapter” view to focus on what you need for a particular section. And, if you ever need to double-check the context for a direct quotation or your own paraphrase, you can click a link symbol to jump back to the exact spot in the PDF that you referred to.
If you do need to at some point export your reference information in table format for an appendix in your dissertation (for example, as documentation of the exclusion process for a systematic review), doing so just requires a few clicks. If you’ve previously worked with Excel and want to try out Citavi, importing is just as easy, and you can of course import all of your existing notes as knowledge items.
Last but certainly not least, if you use Citavi, you have the benefit of working with one tool instead of needing to juggle an Excel spreadsheet, a reference management program, and a PDF annotation tool or PDF reader.
We think it’s a no-brainer to use Citavi instead of Excel or Google Sheets to keep track of your reading for a literature review – but then again, we might be ever so slightly biased. What do you think?
Learn more about Citavi or request a free 30-day trial today!