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Research Guides

What is grey literature?

Grey literature are publications from research centers, think tanks, government agencies, advocacy groups, professional associations, or other organizations. It falls outside of the "traditional" publishing channels that we often find in academia. They are often not widely disseminated and aren't often indexed by traditional academic search tools, so can be hard to discover. 

Tips for tracking down grey literature:

  • In your reading, keep your eyes open for organizations or people who are mentioned in relation to your topic. Tracking them down could lead you to their publications. 
  • Include one of the following terms as part of your internet search: "white paper", "policy memo", "policy brief", "working paper".

Starting points


Subject specific portals

Professional associations

Professional associations for state and local governments are great resources on current issues and best practices. See also associations for specific roles/professions, such as finance, HR, CIOs, arts administrators, energy officials, etc.

Policy oriented think tanks

There are so many! Check the Think Tank Search tool or chat with Emily.