What am I going to do with my sources? BEAM asks you to consider the function of the source.
Credit: Portland State University Library
Run Time: 3:25
|Source Function||Explanation||Examples of Types of Sources||Where you might use it in your paper|
|B: Background||Factual and noncontroversial information, providing context||Encyclopedia articles, overviews in books, statistics, historical facts||Introduction|
|E: Exhibit/ Evidence||Data, observations, objects, artifacts, documents that can be analyzed||Text of a novel, field observations, focus group transcriptions, questionnaire data, results of an experiment, interview data (primary sources)||Body/Results|
|A: Argument||Critical views from other scholars and commentators; part of the academic conversation||Scholarly articles, books, critical reviews (e.g. literacy criticism), editorials||Body, sometimes in Introduction or in Literature Review|
|M: Method||Reference to methods or theories used, usually explicit though may be implicit; approach or research methodology used||Part of books or articles with reference to theorists (e.g. Foucault, Derrida) or theory (e.g. feminism, post-colonialism, new historicism etc.); information on a research methodology||Methods or referenced in Introduction or Body|
A source may serve more than one function. For instance, a journal article could provide you with background information, exhibits, argument, and method. However, some sources are focused on a single function. For example, an encyclopedia entry is likely to only serve as background information.
Citation: Bizup, Joseph. “BEAM: A Rhetorical Vocabulary for Teaching Research-Based Writing.” Rhetoric Review 27.1 (2008): 72-86.
Credit: This page adapted from "Source Functions: Background, Exhibits, Argument, Method (BEAM)" from the University of California Merced Library.