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Exercise & Nutrition Sciences: Grey Literature

What is Grey Literature and Why Do I Need It?

DEFINITION:  “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 i.e. where publishing is not the main activity of the producing body” - GreyNet

Synonyms: Gray literature, Fugitive literature

WHY:  When conducting a literature review or systematic review you should also search for grey literature on your topic for the following reasons:

  • Reduces publication bias
  • Incorporating unpublished trial data can change statistical results
  • Grey literature is often more current

Thank you to University of Pittsburgh, Systematic Review Workshop for the contents on this page

Types of Grey Literature

  • Census, economic, government (federal/state/local)
  • Conference proceedings and abstracts
  • Informal communications (phone conversations, email, meetings, etc.)
  • Newsletters
  • Patent
  • Registered clinical trials
  • Drug information
  • Research reports (either completed or uncompleted)
  • Technical reports 
  • Theses and Dissertations
  • Blogs, Listserv archives
  • Web sites
  • White papers

Grey Literature Overview [Lister Hill Library]

General Resources

General Grey Lit Resources

Good Places to Start!

The Himmelfarb Health Sciences Library
Questions? Ask us.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

The George Washington University