Skip to main content
The University of Arizona

Grey/Gray Literature: What is Grey Literature?

A selection of written research material not commercially published and not widely disseminated.

What is Grey Literature?

The Fourth International Conference on Grey Literature (GL '99) in Washington, DC, in October 1999 defined grey literature as follows: "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."

Grey literature is the unpublished, non-commercial, hard-to-find information that organizations such as professional associations, research institutes, think tanks, and government departments produce. It can be invaluable to your research: it is part of the overall evidence base and functions as an alternative source that may be used to overcome possible bias presented by published information.

Why Grey Literature?

From The Institute of Medicine:

Take action to address potentially biased reporting of research results.
Search grey literature databases, clinical trial registries, and other sources of unpublished information about studies.

Grey Literature Tutorial - TRT 2:38 minutes.

From Western University Ontario Canada.

Grey Literature Overview -TRT 2:59 minutes.

From The University of Alabama Birmingham. A Lister Hill Library Tutorial.

Education Librarian

Kathleen Carlson's picture
Kathleen Carlson
Phoenix Biomedical Campus
Health Sciences Education Building
Library, 3rd floor
435 N. 5th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85004
(602) 827-2340