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SSI1-105: Imagining the American West: Home

Use this guide to get started with your research for SSI1 105: Imagining the American West

What kind of resource is it?

Consider the sources below. How could each source be used to make a researched argument? Why do you think so?


Surface-Evans, Sarah. "A Landscape of Assimilation and Resistance: The Mount Pleasant Indian Industrial Boarding School.International Journal of Historical Archaeology, vol. 20, no. 3, Sept. 2016, pp. 574-588.

Primary: 0 votes (0%)
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Total Votes: 0


Reyhner, Jon. "American Indian Boarding Schools." Encyclopedia of Race and Racism, edited by Patrick L. Mason, 2nd ed., vol. 1, Macmillan Reference USA, 2013, pp. 96-100.

Primary: 0 votes (0%)
Secondary: 0 votes (0%)
Tertiary: 0 votes (0%)
Scholarly: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 0


Zitkala-Sa. "The School Days of An Indian Girl.The Atlantic Monthly, vo. 85, 1900, pp. 185-194.

Primary: 0 votes (0%)
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Tertiary: 0 votes (0%)
Scholarly: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 0

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!  As you encounter and sift through sources, you will find yourself shaping your argument in perhaps unexpected ways.  The ultimate goal of research is not "to find the right answer," but rather, to create a persuasive argument based on your synthesis, analysis, and interpretation of the sources you use.  For this reason, the choices you make about which sources to use as you craft your argument are of the upmost importance.

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.

The BEAM Framework

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

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Katy Curtis
Office: Collins Library 140

Peer Research Advising

Fall 2021

Kai Bahls and Maya Horten are your Peer Research Advisors for 2021-22! 

Beginning on September 12, Kai and Maya will be available in Library 146 as follows:

Sundays:  6:00pm  to 9:00pm

Mondays: 6:00pm to 9:00pm

Tuesdays: 6:00pm to 9:00pm

Wednesdays: 6:00pm to 8:00pm

No appointments necessary, just drop by!