Skip to main content

Researching for your literature review: 10. Manage results

Document and manage your search results

Document and manage your search results

It is important to keep good records of the searches you carry out to avoid having to repeat them. One way to do this is to save copies of your search histories within each database. For this you need to set up a free personal account in each relevant database. Alternatively you may choose to create a spreadsheet or search diary to record the details of your searches.

reading    A guide to using saved searches and creating alerts in selected databases

Example: Setting up a personal account in Ovid Medline

1.  Login to Medline at At the top right of the screen click on My Account.

Medline My Account

create account    2. On the next screen click on Create Account

3.  Fill in the required fields, and then click Create.

Example: Saving a search strategy in Ovid Medline

1.  Login to Ovid Medline at

2.  Login to My Account. Click on the Search tab, and then carry out your search.

3.  When you have developed a good search strategy and it gives you a reasonable number of results, go to the Search History and click on Save All.

save search

4.  If you are not already logged into your My Account, you will be prompted to login.

5.  On the Save Current Search page, add a Search Name, Comments (eg the database or other details) and choose Permanent from the Type drop down list.

Choose from the range of options, then click Save.

saved search details

Keep up to date with new research

Once you have completed your initial literature searches you can set up alerts to receive an email on a regular basis (eg. weekly) with a list of new articles that match your search query.

If there are key journals in your field, it might be useful to set up email alerts to receive notification when a new issue is released. These emails contain a list of all of the articles in the issue, which makes it easy to scan the titles and decide if there are any articles worth following up.

Academic and professional networking sites can also alert you to relevant new research, and provide a platform to create a profile, share papers, monitor citation metrics and identify collaborative opportunities in particular research fields. These sites include, ResearchGate, and LinkedIn. Refer to the “Researcher Profiles” tab of the Research Impact and Publishing library guide for more information.

Example: Setting up an email alert in Ovid Medline
Follow the instructions above for saving a search strategy. After entering a search name and description, choose AutoAlert (SDI) from the drop down box.

Choose your scheduling and delivery options and click Save.

search alerts

Example: Viewing / Editing a saved search strategy or email alert in Ovid Medline

1.  Login to Ovid Medline at

2.  Click on My Account to login to your personal Ovid Medline account

3.  Click My Workspace

Medline My Workspace

4. In My Workspace click on My Searches & Alerts

Medline My Searches & Alerts

5.  Look at your AutoAlert (SDI) Searches, and choose from the options available. Click the Eye icon to display the strategy, or the pencil icon to edit the strategy.

view alert

Documenting your searches

QUICK TIP: Keep records of each search you carry out, including the date, databases searched, search terms and maybe a comment about the results.
One method is to create a spreadsheet.

spreadsheet example



EndNote is a software useful for managing and organising references and associated files. EndNote integrates with common word processors. (Windows and Mac versions available).

Monash University has a site license for EndNote making it freely available for students and staff.

  • EndNote Library Guide  See the library guide for information on obtaining EndNote and tips for its use.
  • EndNote quick start guide.  An online tutorial to get you started with EndNote. Click the blue Log in with Monash account button for access.

NVivo for Literature Reviews

NVivo is a qualitative data analysis (QDA) software package that allows users to import, sort and analyse rich text and plain text documents, audio files, PDFs, spreadsheets, databases, bibliographical data, digital photos, web pages and social media data.

Monash University provides free download of this software to students and staff. 

NVivo can be used to organise and write literature reviews:

  • Import references from EndNote
  • Organise and classify the literature by source types
  • Include print sources
  • Code the literature for major themes
  • Do text and coding queries to explore themes
  • Create visuals to see connections in the literature.

See below for training options:

multimedia NVivo for your literature review (La Trobe Uni 43 min)

Using NVivo and EndNote For Literature Reviews manual (PDF - Flinders Uni)