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Copy of SSI1-115:Imaging Blackness: Assignment Three: Research Process

BEAM Framework

BEAM is a framework for thinking about the various ways in which a resource might be used to make a researched argument.

What could a writer do with this source?

Background: general information, establish facts

Exhibit: explicate, interpret, analyze

Argument: affirm, dispute, refine, extend

Method: critical lens, key terms, theory, style, perspective, discourse


Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography is an organized list of sources that includes a brief description and an evaluative paragraph about each source. Write the annotation in complete sentences. If you quote text from the source, you must cite it. The average length of an annotation is about 100-150 words (about 7-10 sentences). An annotated bibliography helps the reader understand the particular usefulness of each item. The ideal annotated bibliography shows the relationships among individual items and may compare their strengths or shortcomings. 

An annotation is a brief summary of a book, article, or other publication. An abstract is also a summary, but there is a difference between the two. An abstract is simply a summary of a work, whereas the purpose of an annotation is to describe the work in such a way that the reader can decide whether or not to read the work itself. 

An annotated bibliography typically includes the following elements:

  • Bibliographic information about each source, formatted according to a specific citation style. 
    For this assignment you may choose a citation style.  Find more information about citation styles on the Collins Library Citation Tools page.

  • A brief description of the content of the source.
    Your description may include information about the scope of the source and its intended audience.  For scholarly sources, you also should indicate the thesis or main argument of the article, essay, or book.

  • Evaluation of the source.
    Aim to critically analyze such issues as the authority of the author(s), the relevance of the source for the topic of your annotated bibliography, and whether it achieves its purpose (see BEAM Framework below).

A good annotation summarizes and evaluates each source. In the example below, notice how the student does the following:

  • discusses the writer's background/credibility
  • describes the content of the source
  • describes the usefulness of the source
  • describes the intended audience
  • describes his/her reaction

Example of an annotation:

London, Herbert. "Five Myths of the Television Age." Television Quarterly 10 (1) Spring 1982: 81-89.

Herbert London, the Dean of Journalism at New York University and author of several books and articles, explains how television contradicts five commonly believed ideas. He uses specific examples of events seen on television, such as the assassination of John Kennedy, to illustrate his points. His examples have been selected to contradict such truisms as: "seeing is believing"; "a picture is worth a thousand words"; and "satisfaction is its own reward." London uses logical arguments to support his ideas which are his personal opinion. He doesn't refer to any previous works on the topic; however, for a different point of view, one should refer to Joseph Patterson's, "Television is Truth" (The Journal of Television 45 (6) November/December 1995: 120-135). London's style and vocabulary would make the article of interest to any reader. The article clearly illustrates London's points, but does not explore their implications, leaving the reader with many unanswered questions.

The above example is adapted from Memorial University Libraries' "How to Write Annotated Bibliographies."

Annotated Bibliography In-Class Exercise

For the purpose of this exercise, we'll use the following as our research question:  Why was Black Panther considered culturally significant for African-Americans when the only African-Americans characters in the film were stereotypical "urban youth" and the film's villian?

Read the following article: Tompkins, Joe. 2018. “Woke Hollywood, All Hype the Black Panther.” Film Criticism 42 (4): 1–5. doi:10.3998/fc.13761232.0042.403.

  • In groups of 2 or 3 write a brief annotation. It should include a brief description of the content of the source and also an evaluation of the source. Keep in mind the following:  What types of questions are asked?  What types of evidence are used in making an argument? What is the scope of the source and its intended audience? What is the main argument of the article? Remember to critically analyze the authority of the author and the relevance of the source relation to our research question.
  • Read the annotations aloud.
  • Discuss as a class why the annotation was effective or not.


  • Find, print out, and read five articles, at least three must be scholarly articles relevant to your topic.
  • Pay careful attention to the approaches and types of sources used by the author(s).
  • Complete an annotated bibliography addressing the following questions:   What types of questions are asked?  What types of evidence are used in making an argument? How could this article be used to help you in the research process?

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