What is Grey Literature?
Grey literature (sometimes called "fugitive" literature) is material which is not formally or commercially published.
It is produced by government departments or agencies, international agencies, local authorities, academic institutions, professional or scholarly associations, think tanks, charities, non-profit organisations, companies and other organisations.
It includes, but is not limited to, the following sorts of materials:
- Working papers
- Policy documents, guidelines
- Discussion papers, briefings
- Booklets, pamphlets, fact sheets
- Conference, symposium or workshop papers or posters
- Theses and dissertations
- Information on clinical trials
- Technical notes
Why Search for Grey Literature?
Grey literature can be very useful:
- Very recent information, or research, may not yet have been formally published in a journal article or book - but might be available in a working paper or conference paper etc.
- In relation to health information, a search for grey literature mitigates against "publication bias". Results of studies showing the positive effects of a drug or treatment are far more likely to be published in journals than those showing no or negative effects; a search for grey literature will ensure all relevant results, whether positive or negative, are located and can be evaluated.
- Reports from professional bodies (whose focus is on specific practice areas) may examine particular topics in more depth, or on a more practical level, than mainstream publications.
However, it is also important to remember that:
If you are searching for grey literature as part of a systematic review, don't forget to view our dedicated Guide to Systematic Reviews.
Theses, Dissertations, Working Papers and Reports from Academic Institutions
Business and Law
Scientific, Computing and Technical Resources
Computing and Information Science
Engineering and Technical Resources
Managing Your References
RefWorks is a bibliographic management tool. It allows you to store, manage and organise your references.
Detailed advice on all aspects of RefWorks is available in our extensive How to use RefWorks guide and additional RefWorks: Importing from Databases: Procedures guide.
RefWorks classes and drop-ins:
If you are new to RefWorks why not sign up for one of our RefWorks for Beginners classes.
If you need a quick refresher, or have a question, why not come along to a library drop-in.