Now that you have a research topic and a research question, now it is time to learn more about your topic by searching for information. While you may be familiar with using Google, using the library may be a bit different. Don't worry! This page will guide you through the steps of using OneSearch, the library's main search tool. Also, many of the tips we will cover can be used in many of our other Research Databases.
OneSearch, the library's main search tool, will search everything the library owns, including books, articles, and more. It will also search many of our research databases at the same time. Using OneSearch will help you:
Using OneSearch for a basic search is a simple procedure. Just follow these steps:
Sometimes, your research topic will require you to search more than one concept at a time. Our example of how will climate change affect the US consumer price index is a topic that has a few concepts. If we just look for climate change, our results will have a mix of subtopics of climate change. Also, if we search just consumer price index, our results will be mostly business data related. In order to find the most relevant information for our topic, we will have to combine terms using Boolean Operators.
Boolean Operators are simple ways for you to expand or restrict your search. There are only three to remember: AND, OR, NOT
When you connect to concepts with AND, your result set will be narrower because you are telling OneSearch you want information that contains both concepts.
Your search would look like: climate change AND consumer price index
OR will expand your search because you will now be looking for information that contains one word, the other word, or both.
Your search would look like: climate change OR global warming
Not will narrow your search results by limiting your results to those that contain the words before NOT, but not the words after NOT. You may want to do this when one of your keywords may have different meanings in different contexts, or if you want to exclude results that may not be relevant to your research.
For example, if you want to research cardio exercises, but did not want to include running you would use NOT.
cardio exercises NOT running
You can also simply click Advanced Search directly under the OneSearch box. This will open to the advanced search page. This will allow you to use Boolean Operators by providing separate search fields. There are also many other options you can choose from on the advanced search page, which will help you limit or expand your search. Feel free to browse those on your own.
Video created by Western University
If we search: global warming AND consumer price index, we get over 43,000 results
This may be much fewer than a Google search, but you may still want to use the variety of tools provided in OneSearch to limit or filter your results to only those relevant to your research topic.
All the tools to limit your search results will be on the left side of the results page. These include limiting to only scholarly and peer-reviewed information, by publication date, and by format.
As we learned, OneSearch searches everything the library owns, plus, many of our research databases. Even though there are ways to limit our search results, sometimes it is easier to use a Research Database for focused research.
Each database has a brief description of the type of information it contains directly below the name of the database.
You can always Ask a Librarian if you are unsure about which database to use. You can also use the Subject or Type drop-down menus to help you select the database you would like.