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Veterinary Information

Guides to services and collections for students, staff and faculty in the College of Veterinary Medicine

Literature review tools: Citation Management Software + nVivo

  • Citation management tools that are fundamental to productivity.  Choose Zotero, EndNote, Mendeley, or Papers to create a personal database of citations, attach PDFs, and format bibliographies. 

  • Compare citation management tools using the Oxford comparison chart.
  • Check 101 Innovations on Scholarly Communication to make sure you're aware of ALL options
  • nVivo facilitates deep analysis of the literature and visualization of the results of the review.  Consider using using nVivo in conjunction with a citation management tool.

ABOUT ENDNOTE: licensed software that is FREE to anyone at UTK.



There are 2 versions:  EndNote Desktop and EndNote Online.  EndNote Desktop can be synced with EndNote Online and libraries of citations can be shared among collaborators.  Training and practice is vital to master EndNote basic features before trying to use it under deadline:


ABOUT ZOTERO: Zotero (pronounced "zoh-TAIR-oh") is a web browser add-on that collects, manages, and cites research sources.  Use iTunes and a web browser?  Then Zotero is a familiar interface--easy to learn and use. It is free open source software

Training videos on Zotero:


Go to ZOTERO Support Page  

Using or Downloading nVivo: 

  • nVivo is on all the Computer Lab machines in Pendergrass Library.  It launches with the start button.
  • To Get nVivo, get the software on Apps@UT .  Click on 

PC vs Mac version of nVivo: 

Which tool for a literature review:  nVivo or another one?

Literature reviews in any discipline involve identifying relevant literature and using citation management software to collect and manage citations and sources, and then engaging deeply with the content of the sources. 

A variety of tools are available to identify themes, etc., including making large tables in Word or Excel.  nVivo is another tool that has begun to be used widely across disciplines because it facilitates both the analysis and visualization of the results of a literature review.

Use a system that makes sense to you, but be sure to consider using nVivo, a tool that compliments citation management tools for systematically reviewing the literature especially if you are writing a theses, dissertation, or systematic review. 

Here's a list of characteristics of the nVivo tool to consider:

  • nVivo is primarily known as a tool for qualitative research
  • There is a site license for nVivo at UT.  Training and support  is offered by a consultant in the OIT Research Support Group
  • QSR International, the company behind nVivo, is known for offering good tech support
  • Liiterature reviews =  mini qualitative research projects, so nVivo can be a useful tool for literature reviews if it suits your personal preferences and the literature review is comprehensive, e.g. for a review article, thesis, or dissertation.
  • Use citation management software (Zotero, etc.) to organize and manage citations and other information sources, then import this data into NVivo for analysis.
  • nVivo supports systematic review and deeper analysis of the intellectual content of sources by means of coding,  including comparisons, identifying themes, annotating, querying sources for themes, building arguments,  and refining research questions.  If you intend to keep working in this area of investigation, with nVivo you'll have a record of your previous reviews of the literature to build upon.
  • nVivo also generates graphs, charts, and reports to assist with visualizing results of literature review
  • nVivo supports collaboration on a literature review and a record of collaborator's contribuitons/thoughts

Find out more:

Register for Training from OIT UTK


 Books about using nVivo:


Citation managment software tips

  • Citation management is divided into licensed and open source. 
  • Be sure you understand the business model of the citation manager tool you choose.
  • UTK has a site license to EndNote. 
  • Citations can be moved: use EndNote while at UTK, then transfer citations to Zotero before leaving.
  • NEVER manually type in a citation to a citation management tool if you can help it.  Contact the library for help if you can't find the citation in a database.
  • The scholarly communication workflow is changing.  There are new rules and new tools.
  • Check all the options in literature review software: 101 Innovations on Scholarly Communication.