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Approach your grey literature search systematically with a clear idea of what you are looking for. Ask yourself:

  • What are my key words? - Identify search terms in your research question and possible synonyms. It is not a complex search so 'Keep It Simple!' 
  • What kind of information do l expect to find - statistics, quality improvement, public health response, policies?  
  • What kind of publications are relevant to my research question - clinical data, government reports, media releases?
  • Are there any limits on my search? Do I want only Australian or international resources, is there a date range? 

The below video provides an introduction to finding Grey Literature.

Searching for grey literature requires a varied approach and often involves browsing search engines, searching in medical and government databases, industry websites and performing hand searches of relevant literature. Common places to find grey literature include:

  • Google and other search engines
  • Government websites
  • Industry and professional associations
  • Trial registries 
  • Databases such as those listed in the 'Where to Search' tab

Use simple search terms based on keywords

Check multiple search engines, not just Google. We recommend DuckDuckGo
Keep a record of your search terms and where you have searched, especially if you are planning to publish your research
Save the most relevant search results and make note of key sections. Use our Word template in the 'Additional Resources' section below.
Use Google shortcuts to help target your search:

  • site:.gov.au – searches all Australian state and federal government websites
  • filetype:pdf – searches for only this file type
  • intitle:covid – searches for keywords only in the title

Find more Google Advanced Search functions 

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The Library provides a monthly webinar about Grey Literature. This webinar training looks at the importance of grey medical literature and how to locate it as part of thorough and systematic searches. This session covers:

  • Understanding the importance of grey literature 
  • Using Google for good...not evil
  • Recommendations, guidance and resources for medical grey literature
  • Applying grey literature to clinical case scenarios

Additional Resources

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