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You may be asked to look for grey literature as part of your research. But what is it? Grey literature is material that has not been published in conventional books and journal articles.  Grey literature can consist of reports, presentations, dissertations and theses, conference proceedings, policy documents, official and government documents, newsletters, bulletins, fact sheets, statistics, market reports and more.

Grey Literature can be diffcult to locate as there is no 'one stop shop' search available. It is not usually found in the eresources we provide for you (The exception is some conference proceedings which can be found in journals as well as via conference websites). You will need to use your detective skills to search within organisation websites and explore a wider range of sources. 

Search tips:

  • In Google add filetype:pdf after your keywords. Often grey literature documents are available in pdf format. Try also their Advanced Search
  • In websites, such as those listed below, look for the 'Advanced Search' to select specific types of information or use filters on the results pages.
  • Ask your tutor what type of grey literature is most relevant for your research
  • Be careful to evaluate any sources you find.

Here are some sources of Grey Literature:


dl_dissertation, orange cartoon of 3 stacked pieces of paper and pen on top

Government, National and International Organisations Eg; Department of Health and Social Care, NICE,  World Health Organisation
Charities Often contain reports, statistics and factsheets 
Charities Commission search for a charity 
Hansard The official report of all parliamentary debates
ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global A comprehensive collection of full-text dissertations and theses from 1861 to the present day.
Grey Guide Repository Holds a number of collections including Conference papers and Resources
Vadlo Biomedical and Life Sciences Search Engine with the options to search for PowerPoints or Protocols.
BASE: Bielefeld Academic Search Engine  The Advanced Search allows you to search for specific types of grey literature
National Grey Literature Collection Find grey literature on health topics. Funded by Health Education England
Google Scholar  May be useful for free reports from organisations, government, universities, patents
Social Science Research Network Abstracts, working papers and articles relating to social science research.
Social Care Online  The UK’s largest database of information and research on all aspects of social care and social work. 
Neurobite A database that catalogues studies of cognitive, behavioural and other treatments for psychological problems and issues.
Statista Stacks of statistics from around the world: business, demographics and much more.
Community Care Informs Aimed at social care and social workers this source summarises policy, practice, legislation, case law and more to help professionals to quickily understand important issues. See in particular their practice guidance documents.
Onesearch Search in Articles+ and use the Resources filter to find Conference Proceedings


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