One of the best features I love about Mendeley is the notes and annotations. As a supporter for paper-less research, I don’t print out journal articles for reading since I started the dissertation journey or rather since I found Mendeley. Thanks to Mendeley, my paper-less journey has been such a bliss. So, if I have to read on screen, how am I going to take notes or make comments on the articles? Of course, sometimes I still use paper to write notes but that’s very rare occasion now.
Mendeley Desktop has this cool feature where I can just write notes while reading the article. Just click on the Notes tab on the right side (with the article opened), it will appear side by side with the article. I found that to be a very useful function to my literature review process. I like to write notes about the important ideas that I’ve found in the article while I read it.
I segment my notes into sub-headings that will go into my synthesis matrix later. I can even format my notes for easier reading. I know some people like to highlight on the papers while reading. You can also do so on Mendeley Desktop. Just select Highlight Text or Highlight Rectangle. However, highlight alone won’t be very useful if I couldn’t mark or ‘post-it’ the page where I highlighted. Here’s when annotations are useful.
Just click Add Note and a ‘post-it’ will appear where the description can be added. The notes will also appear under Annotations where you can easily see on which page some important highlights or notes have been left. Click on the Pages/Notes under Annotations and it will bring you directly to the page itself. This is most useful if you have long articles or books to read and you want to make it easy to refer back to important pages without flipping page by page.
If you are new to Mendeley or didn’t use these features before, I hope you can try them today and see if these features help you better in your literature review process. If you have better suggestions on using Mendeley in your research, I’d love to hear them. Until the next tip, happy research! 🙂