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_PSYC5131: Meta Analysis: Theory and Practice — Finding Grey Literature

Library research guide for students in PSYC 5131.

What is Grey Literature?

Grey literature is research that comes from outside traditional academic and commercial publishing. It can include conference materials, government reports, dissertations and theses, clinical trial registrations, data sets, white papers, and more. It's important to consider grey literature sources as part of your research process. You may already know of important scholarly organizations, government agencies, NGOs, think tanks, pre-print servers, or other potential sources of grey literature in your field. You may also wish to consider some of the suggestions below. 

When reporting your searches of grey literature, you would include any of the above, along with any journals you browsed, web searches (beyond Google Scholar, such as in Google) that yielded sources for inclusion, and even experts you consulted.

Using Google Scholar

Google Scholar is a potential source for grey literature, given the wide variety of content it searches. It can also be a good way to identifying relevant keywords, puzzling out poor or incomplete citations, and cited reference searching.

It does pose a number of challenges, of course. Unlike library databases, it has no controlled vocabulary or standardized terminology, and doesn't support complex searching. Sources aren't vetted, so critical thinking and skepticism is required when browsing results. The algorithm is also an unknown, and search results are not consistent (even if you use incognito mode to avoid your own history impacting them).

Be sure to clearly document any searching you do in Google Scholar, including the date of the search, that you used incognito mode (recommended), where you're located (North America, for example), and how many search results you looked at

Guides to Finding Grey Literature from Other Libraries

These sites talk more about grey literature and recommend additional sources. Remember, you won't be able to use their links to subscription databases, but you can check to see if we have access to them, and use their links to free web resources.