PubMed is a valuable source of knowledge but is largely limited to journal articles written by academics. Journal publications may be referred to as the ‘peer-reviewed’ literature. ‘Grey literature,’ on the other hand, is a term used to describe information that is not published in traditional academic or scientific journals. This includes annual reports, white papers, commissioned reports, standards, and policy documents.
Grey literature can be found through searching organisational websites or using online search engines such as Google, Bing, or Duck Duck Go, to name a few. This information is not managed and distributed by commercial publishers, but rather produced by organisations, governments, industry, or individuals, and it exists all around us. You could also visit organisational websites, to see if they have a resources or publications section, containing useful research in their field of interest.
Google Advanced ‘one-click’ searches
Searching for grey literature can be a tricky process. To make things a little easier we have created a set of one-click web searches for finding important Australian resources on our aged care topics. These are separated into searches for information created by and/or held on:
- Organisational websites
A useful option when you want information from reputable non-profit organisations such as Dementia Australia and reduce the number of results from commercial, for-profit companies.
- Government websites
Use this option to keep up to date with state or national aged care policies and initiatives, as well as standards and regulations from agencies such as the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.
- Educational or research websites
Useful for finding information about courses of learning or research undertaken at universities, TAFE colleges, and specialist research organisations.
You may wish to use these as a starting point for your research and use them to develop your own ongoing searches.
Using Google Advanced Search
Searching the internet can be both time consuming and overwhelming when trying to answer a question, however, with the power of advanced searching on Google, it is even easier to find the type of information you need online.
Advanced search allows users to narrow their search results by using specific keywords, phrases and filters, making it easier for users to quickly find what they are looking for. While also being able to refine by certain limits such as location, language, domain (site) and file type.
Our topic searches above are only starting points to online research in each field and you may wish to edit the searches in advanced search or create your own. Below we provide information on how to do this yourself, with a handy PDF to print for future use.