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Grey Literature

Grey literature sources for research


Once information from grey literature sources is obtained, an additional challenge for the researcher is to determine the quality of that information.

Ideally, grey literature should be appraised using the same Critical Appraisal Tools as those used to evaluate black literature.

If the literature however is not an atypical resource type a diffent method of quality appraisal may be needed.

The following evaluation checklist, proposed by Jessica Tyndall, covers points particularly important for evaluating grey literature -

AACODS (Authority, Accuracy, Coverage, Objectivity, Date, Significance) incorporates the following ideas:

  • Authority - Incorporates expertise, propriety, experience, credibility, reliability: it asks the question who is responsible for the intellectual content?
  • Accuracy - Does it seem to be right? Has it used a clearly stated methodology? Has it been peer reviewed?
  • Coverage - Try to be aware of any coverage limitations, stated or otherwise.
  • Objectivity - This incorporates opinion, expert or otherwise. Is it balanced or does it have an unstated bias?
  • Date - Does the resource have a clear date related to content?
  • Significance - Is it meaningful? Does it add context?

Tyndall, J. (2008). How low can you go? Towards a hierarchy of grey literature. Presented at Dreaming 08: Australian Library and Information Association Biennial Conference, 2-5 September 2008, Alice Springs. http://hdl.handle.net/2328/3326