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Systematic Review Resources: SR Tools and Project Management

This guide is designed to help you get started on a systematic review and provide guidance on a wide variety of resources.

Systematic Review Tools

The systematic review process can be lengthy and tedious. We have compiled some resources and tools to help guide and speed up the process. Additionally these tools can also be used for other types of reviews if what you are working on does not meet the specific criteria for a systematic review. This page describes various tools available to help conduct a systematic review. Please note that the UTHealth School of Public Health does not have access to all of these tools and cannot provide technical support. For an overview of project planning, see the guide: Project Planning for the Beginner: Home  

Literature Search Tracking Log

Here is a very generic literature search tracking log  but other universities have developed templates to help with the documentation process:

PIECES Workbook Excel workbook designed to help conduct, document, and manage a systematic review. Made by Margaret J. Foster, MS, MPH, AHIP Systematic Reviews Coordinator Associate Professor Medical Sciences Library, Texas A&M University


Abstrackr is a software for semi-automated abstract screening for systematic reviews. At present, Abstrackr is a free, open-source tool for facilitating the citation screening process. Upload your abstracts, invite reviewers, and get to screening!


DistillerSR is a systematic review software. It was designed from the ground up to provide a better review experience, faster project completion and transparent, audit-ready results.

What can you do in DistillerSR?
Upload your references from any reference management software, create screening and data extraction forms, lay out workflow and assign reviewers, monitor study progress and review process, export results (incl PRISMA flowchart automation).

This software is more sophisticated and a bit harder to learn. DistillerSR attracts a fee.


EPPI-Reviewer 4 is a web-based software program for managing and analysing data in literature reviews. EPPI-CentreIt has been developed for all types of systematic review (meta-analysis, framework synthesis, thematic synthesis etc) but also has features that would be useful in any literature review. It manages references, stores PDF files and facilitates qualitative and quantitative analyses such as meta-analysis and thematic synthesis. It also contains some new ‘text mining’ technology which is promising to make systematic reviewing more efficient.



RefWorks is a Web-based research management, writing, and collaboration tool designed to help researchers at all levels easily gather, organize, store, and share all types of information and to instantly generate citations and bibliographies. See our Refworks Libguides for instructions and tutorials. 


EndNote is a reference management tool which helps you to save and manage bibliographic references. Neither the SPH nor the TMC Library supports EndNote, however, we recognize that a number of our users have an EndNote account. In order for EndNote to work properly with TMC Library Resources, users must include as the OpenID. 


Covidence is an online systematic review program developed by, and for, systematic reviewers. It can import citations from reference managers like EndNote, facilitate the screening of abstracts and full-text, populate risk of bias tables, assist with data extraction, and export to all common formats.

Covidence is a core component of Cochrane's review production toolkit and has recently also been endorsed by JBI.

Which version of Covidence is best for you?

  • Free trial version: for anyone wanting to try Covidence and find out whether it is suitable for their project. Gives you 1 free review for 2 reviewers
  • Free for Cochrane authors: Covidence is free to use for those authoring Cochrane reviews.

SR Tools

The Systematic Review Toolbox is a community-driven, searchable, web-based catalogue of tools that support the systematic review process across multiple domains. The resource aims to help reviewers find appropriate tools based on how they provide support for the systematic review process. Users can perform a simple keyword search (i.e. Quick Search) to locate tools, a more detailed search (i.e. Advanced Search) allowing users to select various criteria to find specific types of tools and submit new tools to the database.


Rayyan is a free online tool that can be used for screening and coding of studies in a systematic review. It uses tagging and filtering to code and organise references.