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MHE MHI MPH Passport to the Library: Grey Literature

An outline of the Waterloo Library services and resources relevant to online learners in health.

Grey Literature is ...

any literature or document that has not been published through traditional academic sources.  

Why is it useful?

  • Grey literature sources, such as conference proceedings or pre-print articles, can be used to identify academic research on very current research topics that have not yet been published in academic journals or books, such as Covid-19 research studies 
  • Some research is conducted by government and health organizations which do not typically publish within academic journals and therefore cannot be found through traditional academic research databases.

Plan Your Search!!!

Prepare a search plan before you begin to collect and screen documents.   Use this template to organize and document your search results.

Overviews of Grey Literature

The sources below offer an overview of grey literature and relevant sources.

Health Statistics

Government Publications

 google icon Customized Government Search


Canadian, US and International Government Documents Search - code courtesy of MADGIC, Carleton University
Non-governmental Organizations (NGO) and Intergovernmental Organizations (IGO) Searches - code courtesy of GODORT


Health Organizatons

Determine the prominent organizations in your research field and search the website for a list of publications, reports, analyses

The Internet: Google

Often, Google can be the best tool to search for documents and reports published on the web.  When recording your search methods, it is important to document the search terms used and the date the searches were performed.

Google Advanced will combine or exclude search terms, limit results by region, file type, i.e. .pdf (helpful when limiting to reports), domain (i.e.

Google Scholar will only retrieve documents from academic and professional sources. Note: You will have to browse through a lot of journal articles to find the grey literature reports.

Google Web Search

COVID-19 Grey literature sources

Theses and Dissertations