Module 3: Organizing, Managing and Screening Sources

Exporting and Saving Results

In any literature or systematic review project, exporting and saving results from databases is an important step prior to selecting your final sources.  Exporting and saving results allow you to permanently store the important bibliographic information or ‘metadata’ attached to your articles – this could include the author name(s), article title, journal title, etc., the article abstract,  and any associated keywords.


The majority of the databases that you will likely be using for your review will have options to export your references. Some important tips when exporting large amounts of records:

  • Export your records as an .ris file type, which will allow you to then upload these records to citation managers or systematic review software.
  • Look for options to include the article abstracts when exporting, as this will be important for the first level of screening.
  • For systematic reviews: When selecting your records for export, look for options to Select All – depending on the database, you may have to export your references in batches, if there are limits on the number that you can export at a time.


The following video is an example of how to save and export results in EBSCO CINAHL.

Exporting from EBSCO CINAHL. University of East Anglia Library. Licensed under a Creative Commons CC BY 4.0. *Note this video does not have closed captions, a transcript has been provided below.

Learning Activity

Complete the following steps to practice exporting search results:

  1. Go to your library’s website and open a subject database you have used in the past, alternatively you can use PubMed (which does not require library access).
  2. Perform a quick search on a topic of your choice.
  3. Familiarize yourself with the exporting options in your database, look for the export button.
  4. Take note of the export styles available.

Create an Account to Save Results

Many database interfaces like EBSCO, OVID and ProQuest allow users to create a personal account. With an account you can save your searches including any keywords, MeSH terms or limiters you used. This means you can return to your account at any time to re-run your search or modify your search and run the search again. See Table 3.1 below on how to set up an account for the following major database vendors (always check with your library to see which databases are available to you as a patron).

Table 3.1. Instructions on Creating a Personal Account to Save Your Search 
Database Vendor Instructions on Setting Up an Account
EBSCO How to Create & Manage my EBSCOhost account
ProQuest My Research Account
OVID Creating a OVID account
Web of Science Register for an an email

Key Takeaways

Get to know the exporting features of your chosen databases and sign up for an account with each database. This will not only save your results and search history, it will save you time if you have to re-do your search.



Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Advanced Research Skills: Conducting Literature and Systematic Reviews (2nd Edition) Copyright © 2021 by Kelly Dermody; Cecile Farnum; Daniel Jakubek; Jo-Anne Petropoulos; Jane Schmidt; and Reece Steinberg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book