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Grey Literature

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Finding Grey Literature

Lots of grey literature is available online. Did you know there are easy ways to filter what you find from Google searching? Go to Google’s little-known Advanced Search page to find many filters:

Screenshot of part of google advanced search page.

Some of the most useful tools are:

  • Site or domain: For example, if you want to find only things published by the government of Canada, put in this box. All your results will have that domain.
    • Another example is if you want to find resources from the World Health Organization only: enter in this box
  • File type: many reports are in PDF format, so you can choose appropriately from the file type box.
  • Usage Rights: This is very useful if you want to find images that can be used freely.

Tip: Researching about another country?

  • Find out its national domain name and enter that in the site or domain box. For example, you could enter .in for resources from India.
  • Choose the region and/or language to find materials from that country/in the right language. Google can often translate for you if you don’t know the local language!


While organizations may not publish their information commercially, much of this information is still available online. This might include reports, fact sheets, pamphlets, newsletters, and other information they make public on their website.

There are two key ways you can find this information:

  • Search or browse on organization websites. Often there is a search bar, and you can always browse through menus to find the topic you are interested in.
  • Search for either the organization or topic that you are interested in in Google.
    • add filetype:pdf to your Google search to only find PDF documents. Many of the documents you will be interested in will be in PDF form, so this will help you find them.

The "Websites" tab on most subject guides will have several places you can get started with finding organizations and other material on the web.

Below are some examples of organizational grey literature:

Government documents can include Acts and other legislation, policies, and information for the public such as available services, benefit information, and regulations.

Most of this information can be found on either the government of Canada website, or on the websites of the provinces governments.

If you are looking for information about a particular act, make sure you know what it is called in full and search for this full title of the act in Google. This is a quick and easy way to start finding information about an act.

The resources below and in the 'Websites" tab on most subject guides will help you get started with finding government information.

Examples of government documents:

Discover and many databases have limiters for theses and dissertations. Look for these limiters (often checkboxes) on the sidebar of your search results.

You can also find theses written by previous graduate students from TRU:

Visit this guide to learn more about finding dissertations and theses:

Conference proceedings often consist of the most up to date research in a field, since researchers may report on their findings at a conference before an academic paper is published.

Discover and many databases have a limiter for conference materials. Look for these limiters (often checkboxes) on the sidebar of your search results.

In Web of Science, underneath the search bar in the menu "More Settings," choose "Conference Proceedings Citation Index- Social Science & Humanities (CPCI-SSH) --1990-present" to find conference materials.

You can also search the internet for conferences to find presentations.