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Grey Literature

What is grey literature?

Grey literature refers to material produced in non-traditional ways, outside the control of commercial publishers. Grey literature can be created at all levels of government, academia, and industry, in print or electronic formats (Schopfel, 2010). Types of grey literature include, but are not limited to, theses, conference proceedings, government and industry reports, and blogs (New York Academy of Medicine, n.d.). A more comprehensive list of types and formats can be found at the GreyNet International website, linked below.

New York Academy of Medicine. (n.d.). What is grey literature? Retrieved from http://www.greylit.org/about

Schopfel, J. (2010, December). Towards a Prague definition of grey literature. Twelfth International Conference on Grey Literature. Retrieved from http://www.opengrey.eu/item/display/10068/700015

How do I evaluate the quality of grey literature?

It is important to assess the merits of the grey literature that you find. High quality grey literature will have a credible author, accurate and objective content, current information and good breadth or depth of coverage that is relevant to the topic. You may find the AACODS Checklist from Flinders University a useful guide:

Learning checklist

Image - Checklist

This guide is designed to help you:

  • Understand what grey literature is and why you would use it
  • Identify a variety of sources of grey literature
  • Use search strategies to find grey literature
  • Use evaluation criteria to choose quality information
  • Reference grey literature correctly