Cookies

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.


Durham Research Online
You are in:

Searching and synthesising ‘grey literature’ and ‘grey information’ in public health : critical reflections on three case studies.

Adams, J. and Hillier-Brown, F. and Moore, H. and Lake, A. and Araujo-Soares, V. and White, M. and Summerbell, C. (2016) 'Searching and synthesising ‘grey literature’ and ‘grey information’ in public health : critical reflections on three case studies.', Systematic reviews., 5 . p. 164.

Abstract

Background Grey literature includes a range of documents not controlled by commercial publishing organisations. This means that grey literature can be difficult to search and retrieve for evidence synthesis. Much knowledge and evidence in public health, and other fields, accumulates from innovation in practice. This knowledge may not even be of sufficient formality to meet the definition of grey literature. We term this knowledge ‘grey information’. Grey information may be even harder to search for and retrieve than grey literature. Methods On three previous occasions, we have attempted to systematically search for and synthesise public health grey literature and information—both to summarise the extent and nature of particular classes of interventions and to synthesise results of evaluations. Here, we briefly describe these three ‘case studies’ but focus on our post hoc critical reflections on searching for and synthesising grey literature and information garnered from our experiences of these case studies. We believe these reflections will be useful to future researchers working in this area. Results Issues discussed include search methods, searching efficiency, replicability of searches, data management, data extraction, assessing study ‘quality’, data synthesis, time and resources, and differentiating evidence synthesis from primary research. Conclusions Information on applied public health research questions relating to the nature and range of public health interventions, as well as many evaluations of these interventions, may be predominantly, or only, held in grey literature and grey information. Evidence syntheses on these topics need, therefore, to embrace grey literature and information. Many typical systematic review methods for searching, appraising, managing, and synthesising the evidence base can be adapted for use with grey literature and information. Evidence synthesisers should carefully consider the opportunities and problems offered by including grey literature and information. Enhanced incentives for accurate recording and further methodological developments in retrieval will facilitate future syntheses of grey literature and information.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(VoR) Version of Record
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution.
Download PDF
(425Kb)
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution.
Download PDF
(476Kb)
Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13643-016-0337-y
Publisher statement:© 2016 The Author(s). Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Date accepted:13 September 2016
Date deposited:11 October 2016
Date of first online publication:29 September 2016
Date first made open access:No date available

Save or Share this output

Export:
Export
Look up in GoogleScholar