Grey Literature is any literature that has not been published through traditional means. It is often excluded from large databases and other mainstream sources. Grey literature can also mean literature that is hard to find or has inconsistent or missing bibliographic information.
Search grey literature to:
CADTH's "Grey Matters" guide lists many resources. As well, the CRD guide and Chapter 6 of the Cochrane Handbook mentioned earlier in this guide include links to a number of grey literature sources.
Finding grey literature can be tricky! The strategy you'll develop to find grey literature is very question- and objective-dependent, and can require quite a bit of creativity and dogged determination. Download and use the template below to see strategies to find and document your search for grey literature.
There are many different search strategies you can employ.
The below links contain some grey literature resources for you to consider.
This list provides only a few producers and collectors of grey literature. Do a thorough search for sources in your field.
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.
Many institutions have institutional repositories, online databases of publications by their members. These can include publications by faculty and student dissertations and theses.
Conferences are nodes of new research, often featuring studies before they appear in journals.
Students conduct both systematic reviews and original studies for their theses and dissertations. These texts are not usually included in major databases.
U of T’s Theses and Dissertations in the Sciences research guide is an excellent resource, with links for both U of T theses and dissertations and those from other institutions.
When searching for grey literature, it is recommended to browse individual websites of identified authorities on your subject. Use the links below to find websites for specific governmental agencies and departments.
Often, writers of systematic reviews find that some data is left out of studies. In such cases, a good option is to contact the author of the study.
Experts in the field can also be rich sources of information. Talk to an expert to find out:
“Newspapers B&W (4),” NS Newsflash
Newspapers and magazines can be helpful sources of non-academic information. While the information in newspapers might not be acceptable as a source of scientific evidence, newspapers can often point you to key references or provide a source of evidence for public opinion.
U of T's research guide on Newspapers includes thorough information and some databases that also index magazines. You can also look up individual magazines in the library catalogue to determine our access.
Sometimes, the best way to find grey lit is to search the Web. Different search engines have their own search algorithms that will pick up different results.
Another useful search engine is Duck Duck Go. Duck Duck Go does not collect user information and therefore results are not filtered based on your personal profile.
“keyboard detail view – macro,” photosteve101
1. Combine keywords with boolean
2. Use quotation marks ( " " ) to search for phrases
3. Search a specific website rather than the entire Internet using site:
4. Search for terms in location on webpage (intitle:)
5. Search for particular types of documents (filetype:)
"alcohol abuse" (site:www.canada.ca/en/public-health OR site:www.publichealthontario.ca) filetype:pdf
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