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Grey Literature for the Health Sciences

This guide provides some useful sources of grey literature in the health sciences, including tips on how to find it.

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Evaluating Grey Literature

All sources of literature should be evaluated and appraised.

This is especially so with Grey Literature given the variability of sources and the nature of its authorship. Grey literature sources may bypass the traditional peer review process, as a result the quality may vary greatly.

When evaluating grey literature, consider the following criteria:

  • Authority: Who is the author/source? What are is her/qualifications? Do they have any expertise in the area?
  • Objectivity: Is there bias? How are the claims justified? Is the purpose to promote a product/service?
  • Intended Audience: Who is the source aimed at? Is it general public or scientific community? Suitable for academic rigour?
  • Accuracy: Are the facts/figures, dates cited, and quality of evidence reliable and valid? Is the information cited and references included?
  • Currency: How up to date is the information? When was it created?  Is there more recent information available?

Tool for appraising Grey Literature

AACODS Checklist
Developed by Flinders University, this is a useful tool for appraising grey literature.