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Searching for Grey Literature

A set of interactive modules to teach principles for looking for known and unknown grey literature sources

Welcome to a self paced class designed to teach the principles for searching for grey literature sources in research projects.  Each class module includes podcasts by a University of Melbourne librarian and an interactive exercise to explore an issue where grey literature plays a relevant role. The exercises make use of a variety of free and University of Melbourne subscription resources to explore the topic. 

Note : Many of the class exercises require the use of multiple windows to search a resource and follow the tutorial instructions.  If possible, this class should be taken with either two screens or a large single screen to view the instructions and the resource at the same time. 

Take modules that apply to the research project you are currently undertaking or complete them all.

  1. What is Grey Literature?  
    Understand what is meant by the term grey literature and the types of sources that it represents.  Identify grey literature citations from a reference list and explore the issues that searching for known sources may present.
  2. Search Strategies for Grey Literature 
    Developing a search strategy to identify grey literature sources requires an understanding of the special properties that make grey literature "grey".  Search development is informed by the results you collect and may require several attempts to complete the task.
  3. Government Reports 
    Identify approaches that can be used to look for Australian and international reports.  The focus in this module is on Victorian and Australian reports but the techniques used apply equally for other jurisdictions.
  4. Clinical Trials 
    Publications that result from clinical trials can be found in the journal literature with databases like Medline and Embase.  Searching for active or non-reported trials requires investigation of registry sites.  Cortellis combines information from multiple registries for the use of researchers and the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.
  5. Statistics 
    Searching for statistics that suit your research need can be tricky.  This module looks at strategies that can be employed to find statistics on diseases, interventions, populations and services.
  6. Theses 
    Theses can be identified in some of the standard subject based databases or may require specialist databases and searches of individual institutional repositories or national databases like Trove.



Library Guide to Grey Literature

Link to many useful resources in via our Library guide on grey literature:

Grey Literature to the Health Sciences Library Guide

Grey Literature Slides

This slide pack selected from one of our workshop classes at the University of Melbourne may be useful as a takeaway source of notes from this class.