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Grey Literature Resource Guide: Grey Literature

Grey Literature Defined

The term grey literature refers to all information that isn't commercially published. This includes the following types of documents:

  • Conference proceedings, abstracts, papers, posters, presentations, etc.
  • Clinical trials
  • Theses and dissertations
  • Regulatory documentation
  • Government reports
  • Grant proposals and applications
  • Social media posts

It is necessary to search for grey literature when creating systematic reviews and meta-analyses.

Types of Grey Literature

The various sources and types of grey literature commonly searched when conducting a systematic review:

 

Image obtained from: Rose Relevo Slide Presentation from the AHRQ 2011 Annual Conference 9/20/11

 

Where to Begin?

As the scope of grey literature is extremely broad, consider the following questions in order to narrow down your search:

Who are your stakeholders?

  • Government?
  • Non-government?
  • Academic?

What kinds of literature are you interested in?

  • Theses and dissertations?
  • Conference proceedings?
  • Reports?
  • Statistics?

What time period or geographic/geopolitical area is relevant to your search?

Source: Introduction to Grey Literature for Health Sciences by Franklin Sayre

Attribution

Based on a guide created by the Norris Medical Library, University of Southern California.

Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine and College of Pharmacy
Harlem Campus 230 West 125th Street New York, NY 10027 (212) 851-1199