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Grey Literature

Evaluating grey literature

Evaluating grey literature is important to ensure the information comes from reliable sources and to determine whether it is suitable for your purposes. Grey literature can be more difficult to evaluate than traditional literature publications because it does not go through the peer review process. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the source, author, and possible political or social biases.

There are many different tools and techniques that you can use to evaluate grey literature. Find some evaluation resources below.

The AACODS checklist

The AACODS checklist is a tool developed by Flinders University for evaluating grey literature. This checklist, linked below, can be used to help you assess any types of grey literature you use. Analyse your resource using the following criteria:

  • Who is the author?
  • What is their expertise, experience, and qualifications?
  • Is the organisation reputable?
  • Is the resource supported by authoritative references or credible sources?
  • Is there any bias?
  • Are the parameters of the content clearly stated?
  • Is the content based on opinion, expert, or otherwise?
  • Does it seem balanced?
  • Is the date of relevance?
  • Has contemporary material been utilised in the bibliography or reference list?
  • Does the resource add context to your research?
  • Is it meaningful or unique?
  • Does it strengthen or refute your position?


Indicators to consider for websites

There can be many irrelevant results in a Google search that make it difficult to identify grey literature. Use the table below for some tips on how to identify whether a website is reliable. Also see Search Tips for ways to use Google and Google Scholar as an effective search tool for your research

Flowchart about evaluating websites by asking these questions: Does it answer my question, is the author or site credible, does the purpose of the site meet my needs, is the information current enough? If so, crosscheck the information on other sites before using.

Also consider, what country does the site come from? This may affect the relevancy of the information, depending on your topic. Look at the URL or address for the country code, such as .au for Australia, .ca for Canada, .ch for Switzerland. View a list of internet country codes.

Other evaluation tools


Morris, K. (2018). How to evaluate a website. [Image].