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Gray Literature

How to Evaluate Gray Literature

Evaluating gray literature can be difficult because many of the standard indicators of quality, such as the reputation of the author, can be missing.

The AACODS Checklist is a well know and widely accepted instrument that you can use to assess what you find. It is made up of the following 6 elements:

  • Authority: Is the author credible?
  • Accuracy: Is it supported by documented and authoritative references? Is there a clearly stated methodology? Is it 'in line' with other work on the same topic
  • Coverage: Have limitations been imposed and are these stated clearly?
  • Objectivity: Can bias be detected?
  • Date: Can't find the date? Rule of the thumb is to avoid such material
  • Significance: Is it relevant? Would it enrich or have an impact on your research?

Suggested Resources

One core search strategy for finding theses and dissertations is to search individual college and university institutional repositories. The easiest way to do this is to search for the name of the institution and the words "institutional repository" or "digital repository". You can also check the links below for larger collections.