Grey Literature for the Health Sciences: How to Find Grey Literature


How to Find Grey Literature

Since grey literature is not generally indexed in conventional databases, your search may start with locating organizations or associations that are likely to publish the type of information in which you are interested.  Search the web for:

  • Government Agencies
  • Advocacy Groups and Private Agencies
  • Industry, Trade or Professional Organizations
  • Grey Literature Gateways
  • Academic or Institutional Libraries/Repositories

Each organization or entity will have its own unique search interface, so you will have to adapt to each as you explore the options for locating information.  There are many sites that act as gateways to grey literature and others that provide access to large datasets (such as government websites).

To make the most effective use of the grey literature, it is important to narrow your focus.  Ask yourself the following:

  • What is your audience?  Who are your stakeholders?
    • Government?
    • Academic?
    • Professional Organizations?
    • Commercial?
  • What kind of material are you interested in obtaining?
    • Theses/Dissertations?
    • Conference Proceedings?
    • Reports?
    • Statistics/Datasets?
  • Is there a specific time period for your material?
    • Historical?
    • Current?
  • Are you limited to a specific population or geographical area?

Once you have determined your specific needs, you can begin exploring the available resources for data and other materials.  The resources on this guide should give you a good starting point.

Grey Literature Producing Organizations

Below are sites that provide lists of organizations where grey literature may be found:

Medline Plus Organizations

Arranged alphabetically or by topic.

Health Services Research Information Central (HSRIC) - Key Organizations

Lists federal agencies, associations/organizations and international associations, organizations and agencies.

Partners in Information Access for the Public Health Workforce - Health Topics

Lists agencies, associations and organizations for Dental Public Health, Environmental Health, HIV/AIDS, Nutrition, Obesity, Public Health Genomics and Veterinary Public Health.

GreySource Index

Provides examples of grey literature, profiling organizations that produce or process grey literature.

Harvard Kennedy School of Government Think Tank Search

A Google Custom Search of more than 1200 think tanks and research centers that generate public policy research, analysis, and activity.

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