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Grey Literature and Statistics for Dentistry

This guide provides a summary of grey literature resources and oral health statistics that are considered important for dental research. On the left hand side menu, the resources are organized geographically by Canada, the US and International resources.

What is grey literature?

Grey literature is anything that is published, but not by traditional or commercial means. It was defined at the Luxembourg Convention in 1997 as "that which is produced on all levels of government, academics, business and industry in print and electronic formats, but which is not controlled by commercial publishers" (1, p.iii).

What are data and statistics?

Data and statistics play an important role in dentistry. Data includes "factual information (such as measurements or statistics) used as a basis for reasoning, discussion, or calculation" (2).  Statistics can be described as a collection of quantitative data (3).

Why should grey literature, data and statistics be searched?

There are many important documents related to dental topics that can be classified as grey literature. These include reports related to policy, public health, practice guidelines, ethics, best practices, evidence summaries, etc., which are not published in a traditional format. Conference proceedings, practice guidelines, and early reports on clinical trials and studies are some examples that are found through grey literature sources. If you are planning to conduct a comprehensive search on a topic, or if your topic is related to social issues, policy, public health, or other topics that you suspect include non-commercial publications, you should consider searching grey literature sources.

In addition, there can be data and statistics related to dentistry that are valuable when making evidence-based decisions. Examples are data gathered from national or local surveys, such as the Canadian Health Measures Survey, or locally generated oral health related statistics.

This guide is meant to help you find sources of grey literature, data or statistics related to dental topics.  


Madeline Gerbig, Carla Murphy, Carolyn Pecoskie