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Zotero Guide

Zotero Guide

What is a Research Workflow?

A research workflow refers to an ordered and consistent set of tasks, routines, and tools that will help you advance through the stages of the research process in an organized and efficient manner.  The goal of an efficient research workflow is to breakdown the stages of the research process into a series of easily repeatable series of steps that will make the process more manageable.  

While effective researchers tend to move through all of the above stages when conducting research, successful research workflows may vary widely depending on individual preference and need.  For example, some people might like printing out articles, taking notes on note cards, and organizing those notes in physical space to outline their essays before writing.  Others may prefer taking notes electronically, organizing them in a word processor, and outlining their essay in Microsoft Word.  What works for one person, may not work for another.  What matters is organization, routine, and, when possible, automation.

Zotero's Workflow Features

Gather + Evaluate

The Gather and Evaluate stages of the research process involve searching for sources, saving your sources, evaluating them for relevance, and organizing them in a way that facilities an efficient research workflow. 

With Zotero you can:

  • Save citations for electronic and print sources you locate in the library’s catalog and databases and organize them via collections and tagging. 
  • Save the full-text .pdf’s of electronic books and articles for note taking. 
  • Store your sources and documents in Zotero's cloud server and access them from anywhere.
  • Create workflows with Zotero's collection, subcollection, and tagging features.


The analyze stage of the research process involves reading your sources, evaluating them for relevance, synthesizing and responding to them via notes, and beginning the process of integrating their ideas into your own. 

With Zotero you can:

  • Attach notes to your sources.
  • Extract highlights and notes from full-text documents .

Write + Cite

The writing stage of the research process involves integrating ideas from your sources into your essay and citing them via in-text citations and bibliographies.

With Zotero you can:

  • Automatically insert in-text citations into your essays.
  • Automatically generate "References" and "Work Cited" pages with a click of a button.