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Clinical Essentials: Find health information: Organize Your Research

Get research papers in order


Organize research literature



I need to:

     Manage references and write citations

     Prioritize research studies



Manage references and write citations


Organize, search, and write citations for your references with citation management software  

We recommend any of the following tools:

Zotero (Free)

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EndNote (UC San Diego discount)

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Highlight and annotate PDF files  

The following software includes a PDF annotation tool:

Mendeley (Free) 

EndNote (UC San Diego discount)

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Prioritize research studies


Focus on the highest level of evidence.

The “levels of evidence” is a guide for prioritizing health research by its study design. 

A higher-level study design follows procedures that can improve the strength of the results and lower the probability of bias.

Levels of Evidence: (lower) Case report < Cross-sectional study < Case-control study < Cohort study < Randomized controlled trial < Systematic review & meta-analysis


Here is a chart to differentiate the study designs by their methodological characteristics.


See the full version →


For a concise introduction to health study designs, read Greenhalgh (1997). →