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Grey Literature

Using Google to Get Started

Google search is a powerful tool to use when searching for grey literature, although it can often produce very large sets of results. You can use settings to limit by date range or geographical region. Here are some tips to get a more focused set of results:

  • Reports are often in PDF format. You can restrict your search to PDF files by including filetype:pdf
    Grey Literature - Google search example (file type)
  • You can limit to government publications by telling Google to search for a particular string of characters in the URL, such as gov or govt
    Grey Literature - Google search example (URL string)
  • If you find a relevant organisation and would like to search for other similar organisations, you can do this by typing related:+[URL of relevant organisation]
    Grey Literature - Google search example (similar organisation)
  • If you have a Google account, you can set up a custom search, where you can select up to ten sites/pages/domains for Google to search (see Google Custom Search Engine for more information)

Check out our Google tips sheet for some more tricks.