- Borrow & Request
- Meet & Study Here
- Tech & Print
Gray literature is an important source of information that consists of government, academic, and business information that is shared outside of traditional academic publishing channels. It generally isn't peer reviewed.
"Peer review" refers to the process where researchers submit a paper they have written to a journal. The journal editor then sends the article to the author's peers, other researchers and scholars who are in the same discipline. These reviewers determine if the article should be published based on the quality of the research, including the validity of the data, the conclusions the authors' draw, and the originality of the research. While peer review is important for validating research, it also takes a great deal of time.
When performing a "what is out there"-style search, Google will return the largest number of results. However, it will also return a lot of misinformation and irrelevant material. For more control over your search results, try the Google Advanced Search or searching with the following terms:
For example, the search for [site:*.edu filetype:pdf "social emotional learning] (without the square brackets) will return all of the PDFs that Google has indexed from educational websites that contain the phrase "social emotional learning".
Google Scholar contains journal and conference papers, theses and dissertations, academic books, pre-prints, abstracts, technical reports and other scholarly literature that's available on the internet. It also contains material from the OSU Libraries database subscriptions if you sign in with your ONID. For more information on Google Scholar, check out OSU's Google Scholar LibGuide
As with Google, using the Advanced Search or using search strings like author: provide more focused results.
Databases dedicated just to gray literature do exist. For example:
However, gray lit is often stored among peer-reviewed articles. Many of OSU Libraries' databases contain gray lit.
Most databases provide advanced search tools or a "refine search" option to limit your results to specific formats or document types. For example, some databases allow searches specifically for conference proceedings, dissertations, or government documents. Another way to look for gray lit is to filter out everything marked "peer-reviewed". These are a few databases that contain a mix of gray lit and peer-reviewed articles:
Gray literature is usually not peer reviewed. It may not be appropriate for certain assignments or research activities. Moreover, academic disciplines place different amounts of value on gray literature. When including gray lit in your research, consider these steps:
Critically evaluating any source is important, but it's especially important with gray literature since you don't have the safety net of peer review. Who created the literature? What are their biases? Are they respected in their field?
121 The Valley Library
Corvallis OR 97331–4501