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Guide to the Research Process: 2d. Find "Grey Literature"

This guide provides an introduction to the skills needed to conduct research, with particular reference to the field of education.

What is "Grey Literature"?

"That which is produced on all levels of government, academics, business and industry in print and electronic formats, but which is not controlled by commercial publishers." (Fourth International Conference on Grey Literature, Washington, DC, October, 1999)

Grey literature includes:

  • Theses and dissertations
  • Conference papers and proceedings
  • Research reports
  • Government documents

Conference Papers and Proceedings

Conference papers and proceedings can be very difficult to find:

  • They can be published in different ways - as books, journal articles, abstracts
  • They take several years to be published
  • Not all papers presented are published
  • Individual papers may be deposited in an author or institutional repository

Government Documents

Government documents are an important primary source of information on a wide range of issues. They can be found through a search of library catalogues and government websites.

Theses and Dissertations

Research Reports

Research reports contain the results of research projects, investigations, and surveys, and are usually published by the funder or the body undertaking the research. They can be found by searching the websites of subject associations and research organizations, in addition to library catalogues and databases.