Finding grey literature - transcript

This is a transcript of the video Finding grey literature (YouTube, 3m46s).


Finding grey literature.

[Caption] What is Grey Literature.

Grey literature refers to research that is not published by academic journals or by traditional commercial publishers. It includes government reports, policy statements and issues papers, conference proceedings, research reports, fact sheets, and can be an important resource for research.

Most grey literature is high quality, up to date research and can be found on government and organisational websites.

Other sources of grey literature include Trove, which is a National Library of Australia repository of Australian content. Australian Policy Online, the Australian institute of Health and Welfare, and the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet are all good sources of grey literature.

State, Federal and International government and agency websites are also great places to find useful publications.

The WorldCat database is a collection of library and research content from around the world.

Searching Google is one of the best ways to find grey literature, but to avoid being overwhelmed with too many results, you can limit this search in a number of ways to ensure your results are much more valuable.

From Google, search for Google Advanced search.

By using the exact word or phrase Google will only retrieve information which contains that entire phrase.

[On screen] Google advanced search is shown - the words "victims of crime" are entered into the "this exact word or phrase" field.

You can [use the] "narrow your results" section below and click on the region for which you are searching, let's make it Australia.

You can also click on the site or domain section. This is ideal when looking for grey literature - it will search only on the types of webpages you want. In this case let's look at or sites - that means it will only search for government websites or organisational websites.

We can narrow the search much further [using the "terms appearing field"] to find where our search terms are going to appear in the item we are looking for, you can look for them: anywhere in the page, in the title, in the text of the page, in the URL or web address or in links to the page. Let's choose text.

Lastly, but very useful, is narrowing your search by file format [using the "file format" field"]. This allows us to search for, among other things, .pdfs, word documents, or PowerPoint presentations. Searching for .pdfs is useful when looking for grey literature because often this is how reports and papers are loaded onto websites.

Using all of these tools together may result in you having a very narrow search, so use them individually to get the best results, then narrow them down further as you assess your results.

So a quick look at the results of this search, we have numerous policies relating to crime and victims of crime.

Don't forget you also narrow your search by date to find information published in a particular timeframe.

[On screen] We see the "Any time" drop down opened to show the various time frame restrictions available.

[Caption] Evaluating Grey Literature.

Like any resource you are using for your assessment, grey literature needs to be evaluated based on a number of areas:.

  • Its reliability, is the author an authority or expert on the issue, can you verify their credentials?
  • Its validity and accuracy, good research is well referenced, that goes for grey literature as well, if there are no links or references to other sources, how can you be sure it's valid?
  • Its currency, is it up to date, if there's no date on the resource it could be old and out of date?
  • Its publisher, is it a suitable source of information - government departments and well known organisations are suitable, but be careful if the research appears to be biased or unfounded.
  • What is the purpose of the resource, to entertain? Inform? Educate? Or sell an idea? How objective is it?

For help and more information contact the Law Library help desk or the Library website.

[Credits follow]

Script: Sandra Fry.

Voice over / Editing: Stephen Booth.

QUT Library.

[Video ends]