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Research for Literature Reviews

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Keeping Organized

Organization Tips

  • Write everything down, either on paper, in an email, in a word document...any way to keep track of your searching and strategies. The handouts below will help you with this.
  • When taking notes, record which article or book your notes come from so you can cite them later. Be sure to indicate if any of your notes are direct quotations so you can avoid plagiarism.
  • Keep your resources organized, either by using a citation management software (see below) or by organizing them in a folder on your computer.

Citation Management Software

Citation management software is one way you can organize all of your resources that you will be using for your literature review. It can help you in the short-term (creating an in-text citation) and in the long term (organizing a large number of resources for a literature review). Some advantages to using software such as Mendeley or Zotero are that they:

  • format citations and reference lists according to different styles
  • allow you to add your own annotations, tags, and links
  • integrate with word processing applications
  • manage references for different projects in folders 
  • create accounts or groups that allow you to collaborate with other researchers
  • upload files and associate them with references in your database
  • export references for use in other tools

If this sounds like the right method of organization for you, it is best to get started earlier in your project so you can add resources to your software as you find them.