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Physical Therapy - Dallas

Physical therapy research guide for TWU Dallas students, faculty, and staff.


Rayyan is a free program designed to assist and speed up the process of conducting a systematic review. It allows multiple reviewers to vote upon uploaded articles for inclusion or exclusion in their study; the voting can also be blinded.

Articles can be uploaded to Rayyan easily; the reviews can also be downloaded so they are available offline. Rayyan is also available as a phone app to facilitate access to your review anywhere, anytime. 

How Do I...?

Creating an Account

  1. Use the link above to go to the Rayyan website.
  2. Click on the "Get Started" button at the top of the page.
  3. Select whether you want to open a free account or a paid one. The free account is relatively substantial and allows you to have 3 active reviews at a time.
  4. Submit the information requested.

Creating a New Review

  1. Click on the link that says "New review..."
  2. Complete the information requested about your systematic or scoping review.

Importing Records

Rayyan should be compatible with EndNote (.enw), .RIS, .csv, and PubMed XML files. While you can export directly from databases as .RIS files to be uploaded to Rayyan, we recommend that you upload your files into a citation manager like RefWorks or EndNote first. Benefits of this extra step include:

  • A back-up copy of your files in a separate location.
  • Access to the citation manager's other useful tools, like building bibliographies and in-text citations.

To Upload Records from an RIS File

  1. Open the review you wish to add records to.
  2. Under "Upload References", click on "Select files..."
  3. Locate your RIS file and click "Open" to upload.

Screen grab of Rayyan Upload References options

  1. Click on "Continue."
  2. To add more files, click on "Add new" under "Search methods".

Screen grab of Rayyan showing navigation menu on left hand side for decisions, search methods, keywords and more.

To Import from RefWorks

In RefWorks
  1. Open the folder you wish to export.
  2. In the top menu, click on "Share" and then "Export references."

Screen grab of share and export options in RefWorks

  1. On the following pop-up menu, select "All references" and "RIS Format."
  2. Click on the Export button; an RIS file will be created and sent to your Downloads folder.
In Rayyan

Follow the above directions to import an RIS file. Now you have your citations in both RefWorks and Rayyan.

Removing Duplicates

  1. Click on "Detect duplicates." The software will search your citations for any duplicate titles.
  2. Rayyan will mark duplicate titles with a small blue box. To look through these, click on "Unresolved" under "Possible Duplicates" in the menu on the left.

Screen grab of Rayyan list of citations with Possible Duplicates menu shown at upper left

  1. Click on a title in the list of citations, and then click on the "Resolve duplicate" button. Rayyan will open a detail of each possible duplicate listing.

Screen grab of duplicate resolution, showing comparison of possible duplicate titles on the right

  1. Compare the title, authors, publication information, and abstract. Once you are sure of your decision, click on "Delete" (or "Not duplicate"). 
  2. You'll see that the numbers have changed in your running tally for Possible Duplicates.

Please note that citations aren't fully deleted, just moved to the Deleted folder for Possible duplicates. And the deduplication feature in Rayyan is great, but no system is perfect. Be sure to go through manually to make sure that all duplicates are caught.

Inviting Reviewers

  1. Select the review you are working on, and click on the "Invite" button. (If you are already working within the review, return to the home page for Rayyan to do this.)
  2. Enter the email addresses of each team member you'd like to add as a reviewer, as well as what type of reviewer each will be.
    1. A collaborator can do everything with the review but deletion, inviting reviewers, and setting the blind function. (The review owner must do these functions.)
    2. A viewer can only access and read the records.

Setting Blinding Preferences

When team members are invited to participate, the default is for the Blind to be ON, meaning that each collaborator can review the articles independently without knowing what the other collaborators have decided. This helps to reduce bias when determining what to include/exclude in your review.

Should you want to turn the Blind function off, simply click on "Blind ON". You'll see the button turn red and change to "Blind OFF". To revert to having the Blind function on, just click on the same button.

Screening Articles

Rayyan offers three ways to categorize articles: Include, Maybe, and Exclude. You can click on the button or use the following keys on your keyboard:

  • I = Include
  • U = Undecided (i.e., Maybe)
  • E = Exclude

You can also add a optional reason (or reasons) for exclusion from the pull-down menu to the right of the buttons, or type your own reason into the data entry box and select the yellow text box that appears. It will then become a new option in the pull-down menu for other articles.

Screen grab of reasons for exclusion in Rayyan

You can also use the label box to include little notes. These will appear as blue icons in your list of resources and can be used to add tags or notes to yourself for later.

Screen grab of label entry in Rayyan

Creating Your PRISMA Flowchart

Rayyan will also keep track of exclusion numbers and display them on the left hand side of the screen in the "Excluded" folder. This will be very useful for your PRISMA diagram at manuscript time, allowing you to track how many were excluded.

While screening is blinded, the numbers shown will be for your screening results only. When blinding is turned off, the total numbers of articles for all screeners will be displayed.

Citing Rayyan

Per the Rayyan developers, you can add the following citation to note your use of the software.

Ouzzani, M., Hammady, H., Fedorowicz, Z., & Elmagarmid, A. (2016). Rayyan — a web and mobile app for systematic reviews. Systematic Reviews, 5(1), 210.