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Illinois Tech Library Guides

Gray Literature: Case Studies and Other Resources

How to find research papers not published in traditional venues, such as research reports, white papers, pre-prints, technical reports, etc.

Other Resources

Other resources can be more difficult to find. Here are some tips on how and where to search for them.

  • Some universities make the results of their research widely available in an institutional repository. A search of the university's or their library's website will reveal if they have such a repository and how to use it.
  • If you know the name of an organization that conducts research in a particular area or that is responsible for a document or product, try searching their website. White papers, technical manuals, user guides, and product specifications are often freely available this way.
  • Product specifications and similar details can often be found in product catalogs. Rather than searching for a specific product, try locating a company catalog or industry register.
  • In some cases, hard copies of gray literature have been acquired by libraries. These can be found by doing a normal search in WorldCat. Use terms like "report", "Progress report", "white paper", etc in addition to subject terms or keywords to narrow your search. Because gray literature is not widely held, it tends to display near the bottom of most lists if you use subject terms or keywords alone.
  • Try using the advanced search features in Google. Limiting your results to, say, PDF files will often help

Databases