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Midwifery: Grey Literature

This guide contains resources and guidance to help students studying Midwifery.

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The term grey literature refers to published and unpublished research, such as reports, government documents, and presentations which you can find simply through Google!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



Grey Literature is a valuable resource for all health students, from government and non-government organisation (NGO) reports to guidelines, policy and statistics. They often contain an overview of an issue as it applies to a specific region, state, country or even worldwide.


Government reports

NGO reports

You can also try searching other NGOs or Organisations that are specific to diseases and conditions you are researching, such as DiabetesAustralia.

Searching Google

Grey literature is not usually found on the library website or in databases, so Google is a good place to begin.  With Google Advanced Search you can narrow your search to only literature published on government, corporate or academic websites. 

To find reports published on Australian federal, state or local government websites

  • Enter in the Site or domain line of the search form. Use for NSW departments and local governments.  

To find reports published by Australian universities

  • Enter in the Site or domain line of the search form. 

To find reports published by a particular organisation:  

  • Enter the domain name into the Site or domain line of the search form., e.g.: 

You also have the option to specify file types using Advanced Search. Most company reports and government documents are published as PDFs, so select PDF under the File Type dropdown menu. 

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.