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Grey Literature

Why use Grey Literature?

1. Grey literature can be more current than commercially published literature. The commercial publication process takes a long time; new useful information may be published as grey literature before commercial publishers release the same information. 

2. Grey literature may better reflect research into niche, understudied topics, that do not have the proper funding to create commercially published research. Grey literature is often more regionally specific, giving information about research topics in greater detail and regional specificity than commercially published literature. 

Evaluating Bias

It is important to critically evaluate your grey literature sources while you research. Jess Tyndall at Flinders University created the AACODS checklist for evaluating grey literature sources. Consider the following questions, while you search for grey literature.  


Authority Who is responsible for the content? If there is an individual author, what is their affiliation? Are they an established expert in their field? Do they have appropriate professional qualifications? Are they cited by other authors? If the source is written by a group/body, what is their reputation? Are they well-known authorities in the field? In all cases, does the source have a reputable, well-organized reference list/bibliography? 
Accuracy Does the source have a clearly stated purpose? Does it achieve said purpose? Is it well-supported with credible sources? 
Coverage Does the source state its parameters (e.g. its limits in content coverage, population group, geographic limits)? 
Objectivity Is the author's opinion, or standpoint, clear? Does the work appear balanced in presentation?
Date Is the date of publication clearly visible? If not, can it be easily ascertained from the content? Do they cite important contemporary works? 
Significance Is the source valuable/useful for your research? Does it add to the body of work in its field?