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Systematic Reviews: The Search

Search Overview

Systematic review searches are thorough and sensitive. Multiple pertinent sources are searched. Sources chosen depend on the topic.

Searches are developed over time with repeated cycles of testing until the search is effectively finding the desired information while attempting to minimize the number of irrelevant results.

UCSF Librarians can best contribute to your team during this step of your review. Once you have submitted your Getting Started form, we will contact you regarding next steps including our role in supporting your search.

Grey Literature

Examples of grey literature include publications/reports/white papers from governments, academics, think tanks, organizations, business or industry,  dissertations and theses, Conference abstracts, proceedings, policies & procedures, patents, pharmaceutical data, unpublished trial data.

Searching Grey Literature

Google Search: Using Google's site limit feature to find government or institution reports.

Example: searching for grey literature from government or education institution

Prenatal care AND telemedicine AND site:gov

prenatal care AND telemedicine AND site:edu

Selected Grey Literature Resources

  • Repositories and Reports

Grey Literature Network Service:

Grey Literature Report

Open Grey



Registry of Open Access Repositories

Registry of Research Data Repositories 

  • Clinical Trial Registries

ISRCTN registry


  • Conference Abstracts, Proceedings

BIOSIS Previews (UCSF only)


Paper First

Web of Science (UCSF only)

  • Dissertations/Theses

Dissertations and Theses

NDLTD Global ETD Search

  • Evidence-Based Guidelines

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

National Health Service (NHS) Centre for Reviews and Dissemination

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE),

Scottish Intercollegiate Guideline Network

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force

  • Legislation/Policies

California Health Benefit Review Program: bill analysis

  • Research Registries


  • Statistics, Health (beta)

National Center for Health Statistics

Phpartners Health Data Tools & Statistics: Partners in Information Access for the Public Health Workforce

RAND Corporation

  • Other Resources

British Library

National Technical Reports Library

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation




The basis for this list is a handout from Ahlam Saleh, MD, MLIS related to Midday at the Oasis presentation August 2015.