Grey literature is any literature that has not been published through traditional (commercial, for-profit) means. It is commonly produced by governmental or inter-governmental agencies, research institutes, professional associations, think tanks, not-for-profit organizations, and businesses.
Grey literature documents are often produced to report on activities, for the organization's records or for wider distribution. Grey literature often has an "on the ground" perspective, and since it bypasses the delays of commercial or academic publishing, it can be more current than literature in scholarly sources.
Examples of grey literature include:
Because grey literature is not controlled by commercial publishing, it is often excluded from large databases or other mainstream sources. To find it, you will need to explore a variety of non-traditional sources, like document collections, websites, or portals, to ensure a comprehensive search.
An effective way to find grey literature is to identify government agencies, organizations, non-profits, professional associations, think tanks, or research agencies that are likely to be publishing information on your topic, then search their websites. Look for sections on their websites with names like Documents, Reports, or Library.
You can use the Google Advanced Search page to find webpages or documents from these organizations. Enter your keywords, then try one of the following strategies:
Google Scholar is a great source of government reports, conference papers, theses & dissertations, academic books, pre-prints, technical reports, court opinions, and patents across disciplines.
Government bodies frequently publish reports and studies on topics relevant to health science. In Canada, government bodies at both the national and provincial levels produce relevant material.
Conferences are great sources of new research, often featuring studies before they appear in journals.
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