Finding and using government and NGO sources - gray literature

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What are the differences between government and NGO sources?

Governments are divided into “branches”, “units”, “agencies” or “ministries”. Each handles various aspects of civilian life from health to business to the environment. On the Internet each country has their own two letter code found here.

Government ministries engage in research in multiple ways. They can conduct research themselves.

Or, they can oversee funds used to make grants or awards to NGOs or researchers working in their fields of interest.

Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) work along side governments to help civilians in various aspects of their life from healthcare to entrepreneurship to education. There isn’t one place to look for NGOs from around the world, oftentimes you simply hear about them or they come to your town or village. NGOs can be huge organizations like Red Cross/Red Crescent or they can be small and local like Impact Girls Liberia.

Where do you find government and NGO sources?

You can find the government division you’re looking for by typing in the country, the word ‘government’, and site: two letter country code. For example china environment

In these websites you’ll find reports, projects, policies, laws, standards, and much more. Unfortunately, they are not always easily searchable. You often have to browse and scroll through pages to find the wealth of information you need. But it’s worth the effort.

In some countries even small NGOs are required to produce an annual report. These reports can be full of valuable research and first account data.

Like government websites, those of NGOs are not always searchable. However, sometimes you get lucky and find an organization, like the United Nations, that has searchable databases of valuable information.