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Grey Literature

Start your grey literature search with this guide containing resources and strategies for discovering research produced outside traditional commercial or academic publishing channels.

Types of Grey Literature

Types of Grey Literature Examples of Publications Examples of Common Sources
Academic: Not all academic resources are scholarly and peer-reviewed! That means that a lot of the information academics put out is grey literature. For example, this guide is an example of academic grey literature.
  • Theses
  • Conference papers
  • Dissertations
  • Research reports 
  • Articles that have not been peer-reviewed yet (pre-prints) or will not be peer-reviewed (White papers) 
  • Course materials
  • Research posters
  • Surveys and questionnaires used to collect data
  • Bibliographies
  • Lectures
  • Academic websites and blogs
  • University research repositories
  • Conference proceedings
Primary Sources: Resources that reflect the views, memories, or immediate responses to events primary sources. 
  • News articles
  • Personal journals
  • Social media
  • Photos
  • Speeches
  • Interviews
  • Legislation
  • Newspapers
  • Archives
  • Blogs
Non-Academic Research and Reports: These are documents created by non-academic organizations attempting to research topics outside academia. Think tanks, policy institutes, research centers, and governments fall into this category.  
  • Policy Briefs
  • Data sets
  • Maps
  • Reports on specific programs, areas, or topics
  • Statistics
  • Fact sheets
  • Government agency publications
  • Non-profit organizations
Health: These documents relate to the fields of health and medicine and are designed to be used by experts in the field.
  • Clinical trials
  • Practice guidelines
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Health professional associations
Technical: Technical grey literature covers highly specialized information on the interworkings of different procedures, inventions, technologies, engineering advancements, scientific discoveries, and more. These are different from non-academic research because the intended audience is fellow technical experts and is STEM or scientific in nature.
  • Technical reports
  • Trade magazines
  • Scientific reports
  • Maps
  • Standards
  • Patents
  • Toolkits
  • Guidelines
  • Associations, unions, and other organizations representing specific fields
  • Government agencies that set standards and regulations
  • Academic organizations focused on a particular field
Industry and Commercial: These items of grey literature are created to inform businesses, consumers, and industry professionals about products, markets, and industry trends.
  • Business documents
  • Catalogues
  • Guidelines
  • Repair manuals
  • Trade magazines
  • Individual businesses
  • Chamber of Commerce and other business associations
Program or Public Information: These items are made to report or inform outside audiences of an organization's activities. This can be done by businesses, think tanks, government agencies, academic organizations, and more. This differs from primary sources as these items are updated on individual organizations, not events or broader topics. They differ from technical or non-academic research reports as they are not research-based and are made for general consumption.
  • Bulletins
  • Newsletters
  • Brochures/pamphlet

  • Directories

  • Posters

  • Advertisements

  • Press releases

  • Annual reports

  • Fact sheets

  • Flyers

  • Individual organization's websites
  • Government information like public health flyers or National Park brochures