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PHI 102: Using OneSearch

A research guide for Introduction to Religious Studies.



If you haven't used OneSearch before, the following three short videos will give you a introduction:

OneSearch Vs. Databases

So what is better to use, OneSearch or individual databases?  Well, it depends on what you are looking for.  Here is how they differ.

Individual Databases

  • Individual databases tend to focus on a single subject area, like Business or Nursing.  So, if you know you need an article on a specific topic (e.g. marketing) or written by an expert in a specific subject (e.g. a nurse), going to a database for that field is the best choice. 
  • Individual databases are also set to bring back all materials on a topic, even if we don't have the full text available.  So they are a good choice when you need to be very comprehensive and find the very best articles, even if we need to get them from another library through interlibrary loan. 
  • Individual databases have more features that allow you to really refine your search to find very specific things.  So, if you need to do a very precise search, an individual database is usually the best choice. 
  • Many databases focus mostly on articles, so if a professor has requested only scholarly journal articles, an individual database may be the way to go.


  • OneSearch brings back results from many subject areas.  So, if you are looking for sources that cover different aspects of a topic, it is a good choice. It's also a great starting point if you don't know what database would be appropriate. 
  • OneSearch's default is to bring back only materials that are available full text (either online or in print).  That makes it a good choice if you want to focus on sources that are immediately available.
  • OneSearch also mixes different types sources together, so you may find a mix of books, scholarly articles, popular articles, and even streaming videos.  So, it is a good choice if you are looking for a mix of source types. 
  • Finally, while it doesn't have all the advanced features of some databases, OneSearch is fairly easy to use.  So, if you don't have a lot of experience doing library research, OneSearch may be the best way for you to get started.

Contact Information

Rachel McMullin
F.H. Green Library, Room 209
West Chester University   ---    WCU Libraries  25 West Rosedale Avenue, West Chester, PA 19383  610-430-4400