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EXSC 329: Exercise Physiology: Analyzing Citations with BEAM

BEAM Framework

BEAM is an acronym intended to us 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.

BE(A)M in the Sciences

BEAM was developed as a framework in the humanities and social sciences; how might we adapt this framework for use within the natural sciences? Some aspects of the rubric translate clearly: we love talking about methods! The difference between "Exhibit" and "Argument" become less pressing distinctions for scientific scholarship, in which we typically spend less time exploring arguments and more often tracing various evidentiary paths. 

So instead, we might think about BE(A)M, in which we still need Background information, which we use to inform our understanding of the Empirical Evidence. We may or may not have (Alternative Evidence) to contrast with our evidence, and we often will reference the Methodology of other scholars. 


Empirical Evidence

(Analysis or Alternative Evidence) 




  • How would you define each of these categories?
  • What are some example types of sources which would fit into each category?
  • What role does this type of source play in your work? When would you cite this type of source?

Once you have completed a first draft of your own writing, you can take a look at your initial sources that you have cited and analyze them using the BEAM rubric. Do you have sources that you are using in all of these categories? Do you notice any gaps in your sources?  


Analyzing an article using BEAM

Let's take a look together at an article and use BEAM to analyze how the authors use references effectively in their work.