There is often valuable and recent applied, factual and policy information in (government or NGO) reports.
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The role of reports in science
Reports from governments, think tanks, pressure groups, NGO's and other stakeholders may be an important source of information in scientific research. Reports may contain:
Sometimes we use the reports because the organisation publishing the report is the subject of our research, e.g. when you write on the UN system. In other cases information from reports is the reason why we start our research. And in yet other cases reports contain scientific analyses which, just like scientific journal articles, are used to strenghten the argument a a paper or thesis. Always be careful with using information in reports as they are often written with the objectives and interests of the publishing or financing organisation in mind.
Searching for reports
Another option is to search Worldcat. Many important reports have been published "officially" and acquired by libraries. In this way they are included in these integrated national and worldwide catalogues. This is not straightforwaird hoewver as these catalogues do not offer options to filter out report. You have to use advanced search and combine search terms indicating your subject as 'keyword' with names of publishing organisations as 'author' as in the screenshot. N.B. Most recent reports will be available on the web so a targeted web search will often be more efficient.
OECD reports are a special case: Utrecht University subscribes to large parts of the OECD iLibrary with many thousands of reports on economics, regional development, science, industry and services, transport, and innovation and environment.
OECD iLibrary is OECD’s Online Library for Books, Papers and Statistics and the gateway to OECD’s analysis and data.
Utrecht University Library subscribes to 8 themes in OECD iLibrary:
using filters in your search to find reports in Google
Many reports only become available as online documents and so will, to an increasing extent, not be found in library catalogues. Yet there are still many important reports of large (governmental) organisations which are published officially and so are included in the national (Picarta) and international (Worldcat) library catalogues. In those cases the selection is to your advantage: if you search in this manner you avoid very brief reports, commercial reports or reports that are only temporarily of interest. For older and really historical reports these catalogues are the best option.
Tips for the use of library catalogues if you want to find (all) reports of organisations (if you do not have a specific title or do not know the name of the author):
In Picarta if you do not know the exact author use 'corporation' as author when you search reports by a certain organisation