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The Graduate Health & Life Sciences Research Library at Georgetown University Medical Center

Grey Literature in Health Research

Sometimes, published journal articles and books don't fully cover the scope of your topic, and you need to expand your search to include other resource types. Consider grey literature!

Why is Grey Literature Important?

Knowing what is grey literature and by purposefully searching for this information about your research topic, it can help to provide you with a more comprehensive picture. It becomes necessary to search for this unpublished information due to publication bias. Publication bias refers to when studies that have negative or insignificant results do not get published. As a result, by not having a complete picture, there is a chance that patient safety may be at risk.

Ben Goldacre: Where’s the rest of the data iceberg? April 2012, Washington DC.

Importance of Grey Lit in Health Sciences Research

Guidelines for Grey Literature Inclusion

The inclusion of grey literature (unpublished studies and such) in systematic reviews is widely recognized as important, and as such, international organizations have incorporated this information in their guidelines and manuals for working on reviews and meta-analyses.

Articles about Grey Literature and Inclusion in Reviews