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Public Health: Grey Literature

What is Grey Literature?

Grey Literature is research that has not been published commercially and is published outside of traditional academic sources (E.g. Books & Journals).  Examples of grey literature are: statistics, government reports, conference proceedings, theses, clinical guidelines & clinical trials registers.  Grey Literature can be an important source for finding the latest research findings and the most current statistics and data.

Grey Literature is not always peer reviewed, so you will need to critically evaluate each source to ensure that it is high quality.  The AACODS checklistcreated by Jess Tindale, is a useful evaluation checklist.  (Archived Flinders Academic Commons)

Google search tips

You can find many grey literature resources on government, industry, professional and community organisation websites. 

Using the Google Advanced Search, refine your search using the following strategies:

  • Search by file type - e.g. PDF (Find documents, often buried in web content)
  • Search by domain - e.g. .gov.au (useful for locating government reports) or .org.au (for organisations) or .aihw.gov.au (add the domain name to search within a specific website)
  • Search by region - e.g. Australia (searches Australian websites without specifying a domain)
  • Search by date

Digital repositories

Repositories contain unpublished documents and papers that have already been published in other forms. It can be a great place locate research findings before they are made available through a  commercial publisher.

Clinical Trial Registries