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NURS-804: Theory Foundations for Health Care Improvement

This course provides students with the theoretical basis for the development, improvement and evaluation of healthcare practice and programs. Focus is on specific models and theories that guide healthcare professionals in practice improvement, quality car

What is Grey Literature

Grey Literature is defined as "information produced on all levels of government, academia, business and industry in electronic and print formats not controlled by commercial publishing."(ICGL Luxembourg definition, 1997, expanded in NY, 2004)

  • Grey literature is not formally part of "traditional publishing cycles.  Producer include research groups, non-profits, universities and government agencies.
  • Grey literature is not widely disseminated - dissemination of published materials is the goals in traditional publishing. Often, infrastructure exists to disseminate this material efficiently.
  • "Grey Area" or Grey Zone" think of grey zone as an "in-between" metaphor.

Traditional Grey Literature

  • Theses and dissertations
  • Census, economic and other "grey" data sources
  • Databases if ongoing research
  • Statistics and other data sources
  • Conference proceedings, poster presentations and abstracts
  • Newsletters
  • Research reports
  • Technical specifications, standards and annual reports
  • Informal communications (email, telephone conversations, meetings)
  • Translations
  • Symposia proceedings, conference proceedings

Newer Types of Grey Literature

  • e-prints, preprints
  • Electronic networked communication
  • Blogs, podcasts and video on the web
  • Repositories
  • Listserv archives
  • Digital Libraries
  • Spatial data (Google Earth)
  • Meta-searching, federated searching, portals
  • Wikis, twitter, social media

Searching Grey Literature

Methods for Finding Grey Literature

  • Database searching (specialized databases and search portals
  • Searching in obscure or small library catalogs
  • Handsearching "high impact" and relevant specialist journals
  • Personal communications
  • Scanning reference lists
  • Googling (Google, Google Scholar)
  • Other search tools (Bing, Twitter, etc)
  • Blogging
  • Podcasting

Grey Literature Sources

American Associations of Colleges of Nursing-The American Association of Colleges of Nursing  is the national voice for baccalaureate and graduate nursing education. AACN works to establish quality standards for nursing education; assists schools in implementing those standards; influences the nursing profession to improve health care; and promotes public support for professional nursing education, research, and practice. 

CDC Stacks-CDC Stacks is a free, digital archive of scientific research and literature produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This online archive is composed of curated collections tailored for public health research needs. This repository is retained indefinitely and is available for public health professionals, researchers, as well as the general public. CDC Stacks provides access to current CDC research and literature such as the Open Access Collection. In addition, CDC Stacks offers a historical perspective that was previously not available, such as the first 30 volumes of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 

Clinical is a registry and results database of federally and privately supported clinical trials conducted in the United States and around the world. gives you information about a trial's purpose, who may participate, locations, and phone numbers for more details.

Centre for Review and Dissemination-This databases provides easy access to quality assessed systematic reviews and economic evaluations and to health technology assessments conducted around the world.

Conference Papers Index-Conference Papers provides citations to papers and poster sessions presented at major scientific meetings around the world. Subject emphasis since 1995 has been in the life sciences, environmental sciences and the aquatic sciences, while older material also covers physics, engineering and materials science. Information is derived from final programs, abstracts booklets and published proceedings, as well as from questionnaire responses. Major areas of coverage include Agriculture, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Forestry, Biology, Environmental Science, Soil Science, Biotechnology, and Clinical Medicine.

Directory of Health Organizations Online-DIRLINE (Directory of Information Resources Online) is the National Library of Medicine's online database containing location and descriptive information about a wide variety of information resources including organizations, research resources, projects, and databases concerned with health and biomedicine. (Not updated after December 31, 2013)

GreyNet International- GreyNet further seeks to identify and distribute information on and about grey literature in networked environments. Its main activities include the International Conference Series on Grey Literature, the creation and maintenance of web-based resources, a moderated Listserv, a combined Distribution List, The Grey Journal (TGJ), as well as curriculum development in the field of grey literature.

Health Research Projects in Progress (HSRProj)- Information about ongoing health services research and public health projects

IFPMA Clinical Trials Portal- The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations is the global non-profit NGO representing the research-based pharmaceutical, biotech and vaccine sectors. Its members comprise leading international companies and national and regional industry associations covering developed and developing countries. The industry’s R&D pipeline contains hundreds of new medicines and vaccines being developed to address global disease threats, including cancer, heart disease, HIV/AIDS and malaria.

Kaiser Family Foundation-Kaiser serves as a non-partisan source of facts, information, and analysis for policymakers, the media, the health care community, and the public. The product is information, always provided free of charge -- from the most sophisticated policy research, to basic facts and numbers, to information young people can use to improve their health or elderly people can use to understand their Medicare benefits. They are a major producer of policy analysis and research. They serve as a clearinghouse house by collecting news and information on health policy.

LILACSLILACS, from the Latin American and Carribben Center on Health Information, is the most important and comprehensive index of scientific and technical literature of Latin America and the Caribbean. For 27 years contributing to increase visibility, access and quality of health information in the Region. English and Spanish included.

Latin American Open Archives Portal(LAOAP)- The Latin American Open Archives Portal (LAOAP) is a project to build a scholars’ portal at the Latin American Network Information Center (LANIC) to improve access to social sciences grey literature produced in Latin America. LAOAP will include working documents, preprints, research papers, statistical documents, and other difficult-to-access materials published by research institutions, nongovernmental organizations, and peripheral agencies, and that are not controlled by commercial publishers.

Mednar-Mednar is a free, publicly available deep web search engine that uses advanced federated search technology to return high quality results by submitting your search query - in real-time - to other well respected search engines. Mednar then collates, ranks and drops duplicates of the results.

New York Academy of Medicine Grey Literature-A bimonthly publication of The New York Academy of Medicine Library alerting readers to new grey literature publications in health services research and selected public health topics. In addition to this alert service, all resources are added and indexed in our Online Catalog.

NY Academy of Medicine List of Grey Literature Producing Organizations

National Information Center on Health Services Research and Health Care Technology (NICHSR)- Developed to serve the information needs of the health services research (HSR) community, HSR Information Central is a research portal of health services research resources providing numerous Internet links to data, funding announcements, reports, podcasts, discussion groups, and more. HSR Information Central is not an index of all health services resources on the Web. Rather, it contains selective links representing a sample of available information. Items are selected for their quality, authority of authorship, uniqueness, and appropriateness.

National Library of Medicine Locator Plus-Search engine for holdings in the NLM’s extensive collection. Good source to look for reports by governmental organizations and agencies. Generally doesn’t provide full text access to documents, but a good way to see what sort of government reports exists on a topic.

National Research Registry- Guide to research sponsored by, or of interest to Great Britain’s National Health Service.

NTIS- The National Technical Information Service serves as the largest central resource for government-funded scientific, technical, engineering, and business related information available today. For more than 60 years NTIS has assured businesses, universities, and the public timely access to approximately 3 million publications covering over 350 subject areas.

OpenDOAR The Directory of Open Access Respositories- OpenDOAR is an authoritative directory of academic open access repositories. Each OpenDOAR repository has been visited by project staff to check the information that is recorded here. This in-depth approach does not rely on automated analysis and gives a quality-controlled list of repositories.

OpenSIGLE (OpenGrey)- System for Information on Grey Literature in Europe. This is an open access to SIGLE bibliographical references of reports and other grey literature (GL) produced in Europe until 2005. Examples of GL include technical or research reports, doctoral dissertations, some conference papers, some official publications, and other types of grey literature. OpenSIGLE covers pure and applied science and technology, economics, other sciences and humanities.

Partners in Information Access for Public Health Workforce- Good collection of links to Grey Literature resources in Public Health including newspapers, reports and guidelines.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (publications & research)-The mission of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is to improve the health and health care of all Americans. Their goal is clear: To help our society transform itself for the better.

Virginia Henderson Global Nursing e-Respository-The Virginia Henderson Global Nursing e-Respository is the realization of Sigma Theta Tau International’s goal to offer nurses, in all roles around the globe, online access to reliable nursing information that can be easily utilized and shared. Through the library’s complimentary Registry of Nursing Research database, individuals have access to search study abstracts and conference abstracts. Primary investigators can be contacted for more information about how to obtain full-text versions of their study. The library is operating within an improved environment making it much easier to retrieve specific research information, and for researchers to post up-to-date research findings. The library features a streamlined submission form that will reduce posting research time and includes contact information to connect with other nurses with similar research interests.

World Wide a global science gateway comprised of national and international scientific databases and portals. accelerates scientific discovery and progress by providing one- stop searching of databases from around the world . provides real-time searching and translation of globally-dispersed multilingual scientific literature.

World Health Organization Current Bibliography-Catalogs of publications by the World Health Organization and affiliated agencies including technical and policy documents.

Complete Planet-A search engine that simultaneously searches more than 70,000 specialized databases and search engines for information on a variety of technical topics