Evaluate Grey Literature

The quality of grey literature can vary greatly; therefore, evaluation and appraisal should be undertaken when using grey literature sources.

The appraisal criteria include:

  • Authority - identifying the authorship and the responsibilities of intellectual content
  • Accuracy - considering the originality, methodology, validity and reliability, analysis, unbiased interpretation and peer review
  • Coverage 
  • Objectivity
  • Currency
  • Significance

The AACODS Checkist, developed by Jess Tyndal at Flinders University, is a useful tool for appraising grey literature. 


Evaluate Agency and Organisation Websites

  • Be cautious when you evaluate websites.

Grey literature is often found on the websites of government agencies, universities or non-profit organisations. It is often recommended to check the domains, e.g. .gov .org or .edu. However, domains can be shared by others. For examples,

    • The .org domain is not only used by a non-profit organisation. It can be used by a government agency.

    • The .edu may be used by a personal student or faculty, rather than official university webpages.

  • Look up the reputable directories of organisations 

  • Look up the directories of grey literature producing organisations, e.g. Grey Literature Report


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