Skip to Main Content

International Studies: Grey Literature

This guide contains resources and guidance to help students studying international studies courses.

What is grey literature?

What is grey literature?


The term grey literature refers to published and unpublished research, such as reports, government documents, and presentations which you can find simply through Google!

Grey literature is often the best source of up-to-date research as you don’t have to wait for it to go through the publication process. Grey literature usually is not found on the library website or in databases.

Grey literature does not go through the same peer-review process as journal articles. However, it can still be a reliable resource for you to use. Just make sure that you evaluate grey literature before using it.

Types of grey literature

Government Documents Newsletters Data sets
Theses and Dissertations Conference proceedings Lectures
Blogs and Social Media Videos Research proposals
Company/Industry reports Policy statements Emails
Geological and Geophysical surveys Fact sheets Patents and Standards

How to find grey literature?


Grey literature can be tricky to find. To save time and search effectively, we recommended you plan your search.


  1. Decide what type of grey literature you need
  2. Choose the best place to search
  3. Search for the main concepts as keywords

Google advanced search


Google's Advanced Search makes it easy to find grey literature.

For example, we want to find Australian government reports on volunteers in the palliative care sector


  1. Type the keywords palliative care and volunteers into the search bar
  2. In site or domain, type in (this limits results to only Australian Government sources)
  3. Under file type, choose PDF (most reports by governments and organisations are PDF)
  4. Then select search


TIP: If you don't find what you want in Google try another option such as specialised databases.

Additional Google Searching Tips

In the site or domain field, you can also narrow your results to:

  • .org for organisation sources
  • .edu for educational sources

By putting .au after the site or domain (e.g. your search will only return Australian educational sources.

Grey literature sources

In the UTS Library Catalogue you can narrow your search results to grey literature sources (such as dissertations, patents, etc.) by using the refining tool on the left under Resource Type

UTS Collection - Resource Type

The Library subscribes to many databases which contain different types of grey literature. In the UTS Library Collection, and most databases, you can limit your search to grey literature by refining your search by ‘publication’, ‘source type’, or ‘document type’.

Suggested grey literature databases:

Specialised sources, such as Open GreyBASE, or PANDORA: Australian Web Archive, list grey literature in a number of subject areas.

Trove is an overarching search interface to search the content of most Australian libraries as well as archives and repositories.

Institutional repositories, such as OPUS at UTS, hold digital theses written by PhD, Masters and Honours students at UTS. You can find links to all the other Australian University repositories via the Australasian Open Access Repositories.