Mushtaq Bilal, PhD

Mushtaq Bilal, PhD



One of the MOST CHALLENGING parts of any research project: Literature Review Here's how to fast-track your literature review process using two FREE tools - Zotero and Research Rabbit ๐Ÿ‘‡ A step-by-step guide with visuals ๐Ÿงต

Start by logging in to our Research Rabbit account. If you don't have an account, you can create one by signing up.

Once logged in, click on "Connect to Zotero" to connect your Research Rabbit account with Zotero.

You will be asked to sign in to your Zotero account.

Once logged in, Zotero will tell you that Research Rabbit wants to access your account. Select "Accept Defaults." This will connect your Research Rabbit to your Zotero.

Now go to Research Rabbit and click on "New Collection" or "+Collection" to create a folder for your project.

Choose an appropriate title for your project.

Once you have created a new collection, click on the "Sync to Zotero" button.

Research Rabbit will ask you to choose a name for your collection. You can choose a different name, but I'd recommend keeping the same name as in Research Rabbit to avoid any confusion later on. Then click OK.

Go to your Zotero desktop app and you will see the collection has been imported there.

Now go to Google Scholar and look up any keywords related to your project. It will show you a bunch of search results. Pick one you think is most relevant to your project, and copy its title.

Go back to Research Rabbit and click on the green "Add Paper" button. Paste the title of the paper you copied from Google Scholar in Research Rabbit's search bar. Then click the "search" button.

Research Rabbit will show you a list of search results. Click on "Add to Collection" to add relevant items to your collection. You can add multiple items, but here I am only adding the first item.

As soon as you add the item to your collection, Research Rabbit will retrieve its abstract. The small green PDF button shows that a free PDF of the item is also available. Click on "Similar Works." It will open a list of works similar with the item you just added.

Click on the "Abstracts" button on the top of the list, and Research Rabbit will retrieve the abstracts of all items in the list. It will also generate an interactive visualization of the items. Read the abstracts to see which items are relevant to your project.

As you read through the abstracts, click on the paper(s) you think is/are relevant to your project. Click on "Add to: [Collection Name]" to add the selected paper(s) to the collection. You can repeat the above process multiple times to collect enough relevant literature.

Once you have added a few papers, go back to your collection. You will see "Similar Works" that Research Rabbit has created using your WHOLE collection. Click on it.

Here you can see a list of similar works Research Rabbit created using the collection "World Literature - Indian Views." It has also created a very useful interactive visualization of how these works are related to each other.

Once you have sufficient items in your collection, click on the "Re-sync with Zotero" button at the bottom of your screen. This will export all items in your collection to your Zotero library.

Now go to Zotero and you will see all items in your collection along with their metadata.

Select all items using Ctrl+Left Click (PC users). Then right click. A dropdown menu will open up. Click on "Find available PDFs."

Zotero will retrieve the PDFs of your papers if they are freely available. It won't be able to retrieve PDFs if they are behind paywalls.

You can manually add PDFs of items that Zotero couldn't retrieve. To do so: Download the PDF of the relevant item on your computer. Then right click on the item. Select "Add Attachment," then "Add Stored Copy of File."

After you're done adding PDFs, open them up in Zotero's inbuilt PDF reader by double-clicking on each item. Annotate and take notes using Zotero's inbuilt Note Editor.

If you need help with Zotero's Note Editor, I have a separate tutorial for that ๐Ÿ‘‡

After you're done taking notes, open a blank document in MS Word (or Google Docs). Click on the Zotero tab. Then click on the "Add Note" button.

Zotero will open up a yellow search bar with a list of your notes. Select the notes relevant to your project. Note: Zotero may or may not open a "Document Preferences" menu with a list of citation styles. If it does, choose the style you want to use.

Add all the notes related to your project to your Word document. Now all you have to do is synthesize the notes and you will have a decent draft of your literature review.

Found this thread useful? 1. Scroll to the top and RT the first tweet to share it with your colleagues and students. 2. Follow me @MushtaqBilalPhD for more tips on Zotero, Research Rabbit, and writing workflows.

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