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Grey Literature

Guidance for searching Grey Literature, with a worldwide, multi-disciplinary focus.

Your input counts!

 

 

This is a 'living guide' for students and researchers. We rely on you for updates!  Resources are added via expert opinions, social networks and personal reccomendations.

Please contact facultylibrarians@lancaster.ac.uk.

John Barbrook

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John Barbrook
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About Grey Literature

This guide is to inform students and researchers on how to systematically search 'Grey Literature' (As opposed to Journals and Databases), especially if they are producing a Qualitative Systematic Review or Scoping Review. Many systematic review protocols recommend searching Grey Literature, although only 42.8% of reviews do so. (Giang, H.T.N. et al. 2019

This guide assumes you have knowledge of what Grey Literature is, and if you are unsure please review the Student Portal - Using Grey Literature and Conferences page.

Types of Grey Literature

Type Currency Quality
Blog High Variable
Guidelines and Policies Low High if based on good quality evidence from reputable sources
Conference Proceedings High High if based on current research
Podcasts High Variable
Social Media High Variable
Report Variable

It can be high, but check the source. Possible bias

from industry-led/single-issue organisations

White Papers Variable High, if recent but can be politically driven so may be biased.

Available Sources

Name Help Pages Subject Content Reach Geo Filters
Overton.io   Multidisciplinary Policy, White Papers, Blogs Worldwide Yes. Comprehensive options 
TRIP Pro   Health   Worldwide Limited, use LMIC sensitive/specific
Policy Commons (Limited to 25x Searches for Free Subscription)   Multidisciplinary   Worldwide  

Subject: Is the resource focused in a single subject, or multiple?

Content: What does it contain?

Reach: Is it worldwide or focused on a specific country?

Geo Filters: Are you able to exclude results from specific geographical areas? (See Decolonising Grey Literature)