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SSI2-141: Architectures of Power: Home

This guide will help you practice and use interdisciplinary research strategies

Types of Sources

In academic research, it's important to be able to distinguish between different types of sources.  These differences often are contextual, meaning that a single source might fit in different categories depending on how you are using it and in what academic discipline you are writing.

Primary sources are the raw materials of scholarship.

Secondary sources report on or interpret primary sources.

Tertiary sources synthesize and present overviews of primary and secondary sources.

Scholarly sources present sophisticated, researched arguments using both primary and secondary sources and are written by experts.

Popular sources aim to inform or entertain and are intended for a general, non-specialized audience.  In academic writing, popular sources most often are analyzed as primary sources.

How would you use this source?

Using the BEAM framework, how could this source be used to make a researched argument? Why do you think so?


Merrill, Andrew. "The Life of a Gunshot: Space, Sound and the Political Contours of Acoustic Gunshot Detection." Surveillance & Society, vol. 15, no. 1, 2017, pp. 42-55. 

Background: 0 votes (0%)
Exhibit: 5 votes (38.46%)
Argument: 8 votes (61.54%)
Method: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 13


McQuade, Samuel C., III, and Peter Danielson. "Monitoring and Surveillance." Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics, edited by Carl Mitcham, vol. 3, Macmillan Reference USA, 2005, pp. 1228-1232.

Background: 12 votes (85.71%)
Exhibit: 0 votes (0%)
Argument: 0 votes (0%)
Method: 2 votes (14.29%)
Total Votes: 14


Foucault, Michel. "Panopticism." Discipline and Punish: the Birth of the Prison. Translated by Alan Sheridan. First ed., Vintage Books, 1979, pp. 195-230.

Background: 0 votes (0%)
Exhibit: 0 votes (0%)
Argument: 0 votes (0%)
Method: 15 votes (100%)
Total Votes: 15
Background: 0 votes (0%)
Exhibit: 7 votes (53.85%)
Argument: 6 votes (46.15%)
Method: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 13

Start Your Research at the Library!

Surveillance Cameras



Use this guide to get started with your research for

SSI2 141: Architectures of Power




Photo by Ennio Dybeli on Unsplash

What is research?

Research is a creative, nonlinear process.  Experienced scholars will tell you that they rarely end up exactly where they thought they would when they first started out!  You'll need to give yourself the time to pursue ideas, reconsider ideas in light of new information, and then craft an original, researched argument.

To be successful in college-level research, you will need to make use of the resources and services of the library.  Here are a few reasons why:

  • Much scholarship and information is not available freely on the web.  Libraries pool their resources (your tuition dollars hard at work!) to purchase on your behalf access to quality information sources such as databases, journal collections, and reference resources.
  • Many materials are not available electronically, either because they have not been digitized yet or their original creators do not wish to make them available digitally.
  • Libraries cooperate with one another to lend you items that are not immediately available in your home library.
  • Librarians are experts in the organization of knowledge and can help you find treasures that perhaps you didn't even know existed!

The Research Process

The BEAM Framework

Research is connected to your writing. Relevant sources will address your questions and fit your purpose. BEAM is an acronym intended to help students think about the various ways we might use sources when writing a researched argument. Joseph Bizup, an English professor at Boston University, outlined the framework in a 2008 article. The idea has since been refined and adapted by many others.

Beam Model

Subject Guide

Katy Curtis's picture
Katy Curtis
Office: Collins Library 140

Peer Research Advising

Did you know we have TWO dedicated Peer Research Advisors at Collins? The peer research advisors can help you locate, evaluate, and cite sources for your research.

Ilana Dutton '20
Kate Roscher '20
Peer Research Advisors
Find Ilana and Kate at Collins Library,
Library 118 (near the Learning Commons).
No appointment necessary, just drop by!
Spring 2020 Hours

Sundays 6:00 to 9:00 pm

Mondays - Wednesdays  7:00 to 9:00 pm​