For my project I rely on several sources of information including such that is not peer reviewed (conference proceedings, industry reports, master thesis, interviews). I wonder if I should mark them as being not peer reviewed in the bibliography, for example adding the nature of the publication:

Boo 2013: "A question on grey literature". Stack Exchange April 2013. Forum post.


Boo 2013: "A question on grey literature". Stack Exchange April 2013. (not peer reviewed).

Are those sources included within the list of peer reviewed articles or is a separate chapter within the bibliography necessary (as is often done for websites)?

2 Answers 2


References are references, and the reader already has all the information needed to make his decision on the quality of the source (the trust he has in the source) without you adding information. You don't need to separated references in different “sections” (which would make it much harder to read), or adding information. It is clear from the reference itself:

boo2060, “A question on grey literature”, Academia Stack Exchange (http://academia.stackexchange.com/), 26 April 2013

that it is not a peer-reviewed journal paper, which would have a very different style:

T. T. S. Boo, “A question on grey literature”, Academia SE Monthly, 17, 13-14 (2013)

  • 1
    Agreed. If you are using the style of reference typical of your discipline, it will be clear to your reader what type of source you are referencing based on the format of the citation. The reader who does not understand the difference between a forum post and a conference presentation probably won't understand the difference between peer reviewed not peer reviewed. Either way, your effort is unnecessary.
    – Ben Norris
    Apr 26, 2013 at 11:37

Sectionalised bibliographies are very common in history, where a variety of different literatures are brought together at the same time. For example, a standard bibliographic section headings I'd contemplate would be:

  • Major archival sources ("Deposit A from archive B")
  • Secondary archival sources ("That one letter from file X collection Y archive Z")
  • Published primary sources
  • Secondary sources

If I felt there was a benefit in breaking down Secondary sources by white / grey / black; theory / non-theory I would. I probably wouldn't consider doing this, because I would assume a reader would know how to tell if texts are theory or pop-history or "grey."

Breaking down a bibliography like this may be field specific due to the sources being the "evidentiary" or "empirical" element of the work.

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