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NURS 122

What is Grey Literature?

Grey Literature is information that is produced outside of traditionally published means.

Grey literature is produced by government agencies, professional organizations, research centers, universities, public institutions, special interest groups, associations and societies whose goal is to disseminate current information to a wide audience. Grey literature can be challenging to track down as it is not “searchable” via traditional mechanisms.

Examples of grey literature:

  • Nursing professional association documents including codes of ethics and practice standards
  • Policies and procedures from your employer e.g. British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives
  • Government websites and publications including those from Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada
  • Clinical practice guidelines that have not been published in scholarly journals 
  • Statistics (e.g. data and reports from Statistics Canada)
  • Reports produced by charities or other non-profit organizations
  • Masters Theses and PhD dissertations
  • Conference papers and presentations

Searching for Grey Literature

Identify organizations that might be publishing this type of information on topics that you're interested in and then to search their websites. Look for website sections with names like "Documents", "Reports", and "Library". Consider government agencies, non-profits, professional associations, research institutes, and other organizations, based on the research you have already done. 

Use Google site search to limit your search results to a specific website or top level domains. For example, if you want to find literature from American universities and colleges enter your search terms then site:edu. If you wan to find literature from the B.C. Government, enter your search terms then

             Example Google search:

Example Google Search Immigrant mental health services


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