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Literature Reviews

Information and resources on how to conduct different types of literature reviews in all disciplines.

Citation Management Tools

Citation Managers allow you to create a personalized library of sources. Think of them as an electronic filing cabinet. They also allow you to automatically create in-text citations and bibliographies as you are writing, meaning that you don't have to manually type them out. While there is a learning curve, these software programs will help you save time and frustration in the long term.

Tool Name Costs $?  
EndNote Yes
Zotero No
Mendeley Has free and paid versions

Not sure which to use? If you're working with collaborators or a professor, use the citation management tool that they're already using. If you're not working with others yet, the comparison chart below will help you decide which tool best meets your needs. 

Unfamiliar with citation management tools and how they could help you? This short video from Northwestern University Libraries quickly shows you how to set up and use the most time-saving features of one of these tools, Zotero.

Why Keep Track of Citations?

Reasons why citations are important in your literature review (and any other academic writing)

  • Allow readers to see (and perhaps look at) your sources
  • Demonstrate that you're basing your arguments or research on reputable sources
  • Avoid plagiarism (including self-plagiarism) 

You can find much more information on these topics on the Citation Help Guide and the Academic Integrity Guide

For the reasons above, it's important to keep your sources organized from the beginning. While using a citation manager may take time and effort to learn, learning how to use one will save you frustration in the long term, especially when you are drafting your literature review. 


ScholarSpace (on the 2nd floor of Hatcher Library North) offers virtual and in-person workshops, consultations, and instruction around the use of digital tools and technology across disciplines, including help with citation managers. Look on their website for citation guides and to sign up for an individual consultation or group workshop, or email them at