Grey literature is "Information produced on all levels of government, academics, business and industry in electronic and print formats not controlled by commercial publishing i.e. where publishing is not the primary activity of the producing body." CGL Luxembourg definition, 1997-expanded in New York, 2004
Using grey literature in research may help you:
Searching the internet can be useful to locate information not published within the main channels of literature indexing or supply. It is best to search within known sites or to use a search engine's advanced search features.
Google Advanced Search has a number of advanced search features which can make a search much more targeted. These features include searching by:
To search for a word in the title of your search results use the intitle: command followed by the search term. For example: intitle:rhabdomyolysis
Grey literature is often published online as a PDF or Word document. Using Google's filetype: search will help narrow down the results to these file types. For example - rainfall data filetype:pdf
A Google site search allows you to limit results to one website or domain rather than the entire internet. To perform a site search on Google enter your search words and add site: in front of the required URL. For example - site:fao.org
The default for a government site is to use .gov and this defaults to a US government site, to make it an Australian government site add au, e.g. site: .gov.au
All of these operators can be mixed together as a search. For example - food security site:fao.org filetype:pdf
Preprint databases contain the author's original manuscript before submission for traditional publication. Find out more about preprints.
Grey literature should be appraised to the same standards as those used to evaluate any other literature. Grey literature sources often do not have the same quality checking as that of peer-reviewed literature. Careful examination is required to ensure the credibility of the source, the author and content.
The AACODS Checklist is an evaluation tool that provides guidance when using grey literature sources, incorporating the following ideas: