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SSI2-124: Utopia/Dystopia: Getting Started

Background & Overviews

Tertiary sources, such as subject encyclopedias and textbooks, are excellent starting points in your research.  Use them to find:

  • Helpful overviews of key facts:  who? what? when?
  • Bibliographies of especially key scholarly works.
  • Identification of important primary sources.
  • Brief descriptions of main scholarly arguments:  how? why?

At Collins Library, you can access subject encyclopedias in a variety of formats: print, ebook, or via larger digital collections.

Print encyclopedias are located on the first floor of the library, across from the Learning Commons. An example:

Online encyclopedias can be accessed via PRIMO, the library's discovery platform.  An example:

Large digital collections of subject encyclopedias can be accessed via several publisher-based platforms:

BEAM Framework

BEAM is an acronym intended to help you think about the various ways you 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.

The BEAM Framework and Researching/Writing in the Disciplines

Different academic disciplines will value different aspects of sources and how one uses them. 

 

The discipline of history privileges the two vowels in the BEAM framework:

EXHIBIT:  Historians analyze and interpret primary sources.

ARGUMENT:  Historians join a scholarly conversation by placing their analysis and interpretation in dialog with the work of other historians.  Historians publish their work in the form of scholarly articles and monographs (scholarly books).

 

The discipline of anthropology emphasizes methods/theory:

EXHIBIT:  Anthropologists undertake field observations of a group.

ARGUMENT: Anthropologists join a scholarly conversation by placing their analysis and interpretation in dialog with the work of other social scientists.  They publish their work in the form of scholarly articles and ethnographic studies (scholarly books).

METHOD:  Anthropologists apply competing social theories to their data to test the validity of said theories.

Peggy Burge's picture
Peggy Burge
Contact:
Collins Library 131
253.879.3512

Spring 2019 Hours

Collins Library, Library 118 (just off of the Learning Commons)
You can just drop in or you can request an appointment.
 
Marcelle Rutherfurd '19 and Lindsey Hunt '19 are available for research consultations as follows:
 
Sundays   7:00 to 9:00 pm
Mondays   7:00 to 9:00 pm
Tuesdays   7:00 to 9:00 pm
Wednesdays   7:00 to 9:00 pm