Research Tip: Summary Tables

So you’re researching a topic in preparation for a literature review/report/proposal/fun times. You’ll soon find that you need a way to organise and summarise your notes and journal articles. EndNote and other reference management software are great for saving citation details – but what about a personalised overview of all the papers you’ve read? How can you work with your existing referencing software files to create such an overview? Well, this is where summary tables come in handy.

I’d describe a summary table as an electronic, summarised record of all of the references you’ve read on any given topic in tabular form.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a novice researcher or a pro – at some point in your career you will figure out a system that works best for you, as you trial new techniques or revert back to old but effective habits.

I use a word processor for my summary table, but you can use spreadsheet software if you prefer. Do you have your own research management system? What do you find useful?

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