Available Until 7/28/2027

Grey Horizons: Grey Literature Searching for New and Emerging Health Technologies


For more information or to schedule this course, please contact  Monika Mierzwinski-Urban <monikam@cadth.ca>.

Horizon Scanning is a process used to identify and monitor new and emerging health technologies in order to inform healthcare professionals and decision-makers about new evidence, trends, opportunities, and risks. Searching for information on these health technologies can be challenging and time consuming. Because there is often a lack of commercially published literature, extensive grey literature searching is required. This hands-on, face-to-face  course will help participants locate grey literature on cutting-edge pharmaceuticals, medical devices, diagnostic tests, and surgical procedures. The instructors will discuss the value of grey literature in horizon scanning searches, key types of grey literature, and relevant checklists. Participants will learn how to effectively search major clinical trial databases, find regulatory and safety information on drugs and devices, locate recent conference abstracts, and keep up to date via news alerts. Additionally, participants will learn advanced tips on Google searching for grey literature, including custom searches and country-specific searches.

Learning Objectives

  • To understand the value of grey literature for horizon scanning searches on new and emerging health technologies.
  • To identify, and effectively search for, the different types and sources of grey literature for horizon scanning searching, including: clinical trial databases, conference abstracts, regulatory and safety information for drugs and devices, and news alerts.
  • To learn how to search Google effectively for horizon scanning, including: searching for grey literature using country specific Google search engines, setting up Google alerts, specific domain searches in Google (such as .gov or .org), creating custom searches, and alternatives to Google (DuckDuckGo and Startpage)


8:00-8:10 Welcome, agenda overview, educational objectives.
8:10-8:20: Overview of horizon scanning, and the importance of grey literature in horizon scanning for emerging health technologies.
8:20-8:30: Overview of key types of grey literature for emerging drugs and devices, and relevant checklists for grey literature searching.
8:30-9:00: Searching clinical trial databases. Demo and hands on exercise.
9:00-9:15: Searching for most recent conferences abstracts
9:15-9:45: Regulatory and safety information for drugs and devices. Finding approval information, advisories, and warnings, from United Sates, Canada, and Europe. Demo and hands on exercise.
9:45-10:00: Sources for news alerts and updates.
10:00-10:15: Break
10:15-10:30: Google for grey literature-strengths and weaknesses
10:30-10:45: Google Alerts and Google Custom Search
10:45-11:00: Using country specific Google search engines
11:00-11:20: Individual exercises using country specific Google search engines
11:20-11:35: Specific domain searches in Google, including .gov, .org
11:35-11:45: Alternatives to Google (DuckDuckGo and Startpage) and hands on practice
11:45-12:00: Questions, wrap-up and evaluation

Facility Requirements

Visual projection system Internet access Individual computer workstations for participants


MLA CE Credits: 4