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Health Sciences Systematic Reviews

Guidance for conducting health sciences systematic reviews.

Retrieve Full Text

The videos, services, and guidance on this page will help you retrieve full-text journal articles, publications, and grey literature. 

InterLibrary Loan

Grey Literature Full Text

The term grey literature refers to all information that isn't commercially published. This can include the following types of documents:

  • Conference proceedings, abstracts, papers, posters, presentations, etc.
  • Clinical trials
  • Theses and dissertations
  • Regulatory documentation
  • Government reports
  • Grant proposals and applications
  • Social media posts
  • Etc.

Including grey literature in a systematic review can strengthen the overall product by minimizing publication bias. All sources of information, including grey literature, which is rarely peer reviewed, should undergo quality assessment and appraisal before being included in the final SR analysis.

Obtaining full-text:

  • You should obtain the full item described by the abstract: the full poster, the full report on the clinical trial, etc.  
  • For some publication types, such as conference abstracts, the abstract is the full text. Many conference abstracts are published in journals and are available through USC Libraries.
  • Use clinical trial registries (e.g. and others) to verify that you have all publicly available data associated with the trial. Contact the authors for full results and more information. 

See the Grey Literature page of this guide for resources and help searching for grey literature.