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Grey literature: What is it?

Learn how to find and use non-commercial, non-peer-reviewed literature, such as government reports.

Where can I find it? and, How can I find it?

Grey literature is not easy to find, which is why it's "grey"!  Expect to have to do quite a bit of searching.  That being said, with more and more information being published online, it's become a bit easier.

Government agencies, research institutes, organizations, companies or associations will often have a link to "research" or "publications" on their website.  If the body produces a large quantity of publications, then they might even have a "database" or "institutional repository" available for searching. 

It is helpful if you know which bodies publish in your area of research interest, but if you don't know where to look, you have a few options:

  1. Speak with your instructor or research advisor.  They might be able to point you to relevant resources
  2. Speak to a librarian. 
  3. Use Google or Google Scholar.  Because Google indexes a vast amount of the World Wide Web, you should be able to find a good amount of grey literature publications just through keyword searching, especially if you use the advanced search features which allow you to filter to specific website domains.  Take a look at the video on this page for a quick demo on how to do this.

Using Google to find grey literature

Useful databases in the Library's collection

Useful databases on the open Internet

These are just a few of the more general sources for grey literature.  To see if there might be something specific to your research or program area, contact a librarian.