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Drexel Library

Grey Literature for Physical Sciences

Grey Literature is essentially any document that hasn't gone through peer review for a publication. Regulations, conference proceedings or doctoral thesis and more...

Beginning Strategies:

"The most valuable grey literature is often not easily retrieved through a simple query in a search engine; it resides inside a specialized database, buried deep within an association’s web site, or is simply not ranked as relevant by a search engine’s algorithm." Mary Ellen Bates, 2019.

Step 1. Use search terms that describes what you are looking for.  Use database filters for keywords.

Example: forest fires

A) Web of Science: Query building: Select Advanced search, TS= forest fires. Document type-> Meeting Abstracts, Proceedings Paper. Click here for the search results. 

You can analyze your results by the fields, and select documents in your interested field, and look up the trend by creating a Citation Report.

B) Google Advanced search: 

Filter by document types as "doc", "docx", "pdf". You can select one type and add the other document types by using OR operator.

Filter by site or domain for government resources as ".gov".

An example of a search query : forest fires site:.gov filetype:doc OR docx OR pdf

Step 2. Discover the stakeholders: It is vital to discover who all the stakeholders are during your project preparation phase.

What is a stakeholder?: A stakeholder is a person or organization who has something to gain or lose as a result of the outcomes of a project, program or process. (Hovland, Ingie ‘Successful Communication: A Toolkit for Researchers and Civil Society Organisations’, p.8, 2005).