Last modified on 17 December 2018, at 21:33

Zotero workshop

Using Zotero will save you hours of typing out references!

Pedagogical content. This page describes an idea for a participatory workshop, to get started with Zotero. The workshop mainly focusses on why you want to use Zotero, rather than the technical details of Zotero. However, in preparation, participants do some self-guided exercises to develop basic familiarity with Zotero. At the workshop, we'll discuss

  • Collecting references for an academic publication in any discipline.
  • Collecting text from blogs for social science research.
  • Setting up a shared group on Zotero, for sharing references and files.
  • Using Zotero for research synthesis and systematic literature review.

We'll relate these ideas to the concrete research interests of the participants. For those participants in academic positions, we'll also discuss how to use Zotero in undergraduate and graduate teaching and research.

Resource details
Title Zotero workshop
Topic Zotero application,  ICT,  Reference management
Learning Objectives

The objectives of this workshop are to get started with Zotero.

Age of students / grade

Useful information

Files and resources to view and download
  • To prepare for the workshop, please go through the steps given below.
  • Please download: the study guide from this page: A Zotero Self-Paced Study Guide (by Dr Bethan Morgan, Dr Sara Hennessy, Dr Zsolt Lavicza.

Workshop plan by Bjoern Hassler; Zotero Self-Paced Study Guide by Dr Bethan Morgan, Dr Sara Hennessy, Dr Zsolt Lavicza)

1 Zotero workshop

1.1 Preparation

In order to prepare for the workshop, please do the following four "ACTIONS".

Note: The tasks below might seem like a lot of tasks. However, depending on your overall familiarity with web browsers and productivity applications, it should only take you around one hour to do these tasks. It's important for you to prepare, in order to get the most out of the workshop.

1.1.1 Action 1: Download Zotero

Please go to the web site for Zotero and

  • Download "Zotero" (the current version, e.g. version 5 upwards) and the "Zotero connector" for your preferred browser (e.g. Chrome).

The Zotero Self-Paced Study Guide uses that version of Zotero.

1.1.2 ACTION 2: Create a login on the Zotero site.

You will need this for synchronising your references online, and for sharing them with others.

1.1.3 ACTION 3: Some exercises

Download the Zotero Self-Paced Study Guide, and do tasks 1-9 and 21:

  • Section 1: Installing the software/Basic Features
    • TASK 1: Download & install Zotero (You don't need to do this if you've already done ACTION 1. )
    • TASK 2: Download & install the Zoteror plugin for your favourite browser (Again, should have been done in ACTION 1.)
    • TASK 3: Download & install the Word plug-in (not - the Google Docs plug-in comes with the Zotero plugin for Chrome)
    • TASK 4: Take a quick tour of Zotero
    • TASK 5: Set Zotero’s Preferences
    • TASK 6: Left-hand column: create a collection
    • TASK 7: Middle Column: Find & store references
    • TASK 8: Right Column: Check/Edit Individual Reference Information
  • Section 2: Searching, Sorting, Reports & Creating Bibliographies
    • TASK 9: Search Google Scholar
  • Section 4: Backing up & importing/exporting
    • TASK 21: Sync your library online

For the last task, the manual doesn't have a lot of information, but refers you to, where you find the following instructions:

The first step to syncing your Zotero library is to create a Zotero account (which is also used for the Zotero Forums). Then, open Zotero's Sync preferences tab and enter your login information in the Zotero Sync Server section. By default, Zotero will sync your data with the server whenever changes are made. To disable automatic syncing, uncheck the “Sync automatically” checkbox in this section.

You've already created a Zotero account in ACTION 2, so the only thing that remains is to enter the details in your preferences.

If you get stuck with the above tasks, ask for help from your colleagues or the workshop leader prior to the workshop. However, don't worry if you don't manage to do everything - it's important though that you try, and spend about 1-2 hours on this.

1.1.4 ACTION 4: Think about how you would use Zotero

Once you've explored the above three ACTIONS, spend a few minutes thinking about using Zotero for your own research tasks. How will you use Zotero?

1.1.5 Extra tasks

If you find the above tasks easy, try to install two powerful add-ons to Zotero:

1.1.6 Note

The workshop will start with hearing how the above tasks went, and your thoughts from ACTION 4. So make sure you do them!

1.2 The workshop

During the workshop, we will discuss any issues arising with the above tasks, and explore some further tasks from the work book. Because you've already done the basics as preparation, we'll be able to discuss a number of use cases of Zotero, such as

  • Collecting references for an academic publication in any discipline.
  • Collecting text from blogs for social science research.
  • Setting up a shared group on Zotero, for sharing references and files.
  • Using Zotero for research synthesis and systematic literature review

Note that while Zotero doesn't have as many advanced features as the specialised review software (e.g. EPPI-Reviewer software,, it's perfectly possible to use Zotero highly effectively to create research syntheses and systematic literature reviews.