What is grey literature?
Grey literature is the term used to describe literature that is not formally published as a book or journal article (Higgins, 2011), including:
Related library guides:
In addition to the grey literature resources listed below, there are related library guides on: Finding Theses and Dissertations and Government Information (Health). The Public Health library guide has a page on grey literature with additional sources to search as well.
Research articles about public health and grey literature:
From: Adams, J., Hillier-Brown, F. C., Moore, H. J., Lake, A. A., Araujo-Soares, V., White, M., & Summerbell, C. (2016). Searching and synthesising ‘grey literature’ and ‘grey information’ in public health: critical reflections on three case studies. Systematic Reviews, 5(1), 164.
From: Hunt, S. L., & Bakker, C. J. (2018). A qualitative analysis of the information science needs of public health researchers in an academic setting. Journal of the Medical Library Association: JMLA, 106(2), 184.
Some library databases contain grey literature in addition to journal articles. For example, Web of Science and Embase contain conference proceedings, and PsycINFO contains dissertations. Since library databases do not generally provide comprehensive coverage of grey literature, other resources can be searched to identify literature that is not formally published as well.
Below are a number of grey literature resources that may be useful for public health topics. Additionally, the Ontario Public Health Libraries Association has complied a comprehensive list of Public Health Grey Literature Sources.
For quantitative systematic reviews of healthcare interventions, it is strongly recommended to search clinical trial registries for on-going and unpublished trials in order to limit publication bias.
Adams, J., Hillier-Brown, F. C., Moore, H. J., Lake, A. A., Araujo-Soares, V., White, M., & Summerbell, C. (2016). Searching and synthesising ‘grey literature’and ‘grey information’in public health: critical reflections on three case studies. Systematic reviews, 5(1), 164.
Cooper, C., Lovell, R., Husk, K., Booth, A., & Garside, R. (2018). Supplementary search methods were more effective and offered better value than bibliographic database searching: A case study from public health and environmental enhancement. Research synthesis methods, 9(2), 195-223.
Higgins, J.P.T. & Green, S. (Eds.). (2011). Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions Version 5.1.0 [updated March 2011]. The Cochrane Collaboration. Available from www.handbook.cochrane.org.