Nursing - graduate: Grey Literature

Grey literature

Grey literature is material that is not commercially published. It can come in the form of conference proceedings, technical reports, working papers, preprints, as well as blogs or podcasts. Because grey literature hasn't been published it can be challenging to find.

There are three basic ways to search for Grey Literature:

OpenGrey - an open access database of European grey lit containing over 700,000 references. Can limit by year or institution, includes save and export functionality.

OpenDOAR - in addition to providing a list of open access repositories, OpenDOAR lets you search repository contents.

  • Use a search engine such as Google. Google is considered the "go-to" search engine, but you should try others too. A list of alternatives can be found here; see in particular the list of medical search engines. You can easily limit your Google searches to specific documents by adding:
    • keywords -- for example, guidelines OR protocols
    • document types -- for example, filetype:pdf
    • limit by source -- for example, site:gov, site:edu  


Additional Grey Lit resources:

GreyNet International - A selection of web-based resources in grey literature

Mednar - does a "deep web" search. Limit results by selecting "topics" on left side.

Nursing Times - Great article on searching for grey literature.

OpenSIGLE - System for information on grey literature in Europe.

Virginia Henderson International Nursing Library - The VHL repository is an open-access digital service that collects, preserves, and freely disseminates nursing related research materials in both abstract-only and full-text format. For detailed assistance, select the "Helpful Guides & Info." tab.

Health and Medicine Division (HMD) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine - contains reports and publications that provide objective and straightforward advice to decision makers and the public.

Searching grey lit for EBP

The Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health has a "how-to" and checklist of resources to help with finding evidence-based medical information in grey literature. While the focus is Canadian, there are useful links to U.S. and other countries' resources. 

Finding grey literature from the Medical Library Association's Nursing and Allied Health Resources Section.


KCON and Other Dissertations

Dissertations by Kirkhof College of Nursing graduates can be found in ScholarWorks, GVSU's institutional repository. They are located in the collection named Graduate Research and Creative Practice. The direct link is They can also be located by searching Google Scholar for Kirkhof dissertation scholarworks (use those exact words without quotation marks or parentheses). You can also search for other dissertations via Google Scholar.

The Sigma Repository is a digital repository of nursing capstones, master theses, and some dissertations.

Another source for dissertations is PQDT Open. Choose the "more search options" to limit your search to nursing topics.

Finally, you may want to look at the Nursing Commons, GVSU dissertations are also included in this resource.


Nursing organizations can be great resources for information on policy, trends, and advocacy. Note that this is not an exhaustive list.

Conference Proceedings

Conference proceedings can be a valuable source of current research but they're often difficult to find. You can often find posters, presentations, and meeting abstracts in institutional repositories. Try searching Google Scholar for these. Another wonderful resource for meeting abstracts is the GVSU database Web of Science. You can search various fields, including conference name.

Subjects: Nursing
  • Last Updated: May 23, 2024 2:24 PM
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