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BIOL 213: Genetics: Making Your Sources Work For You: 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. 

Background

Empirical Evidence

(Analysis or Alternative Evidence) 

Method

 

Consider:

  • 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?

Let's take a look at the article Telomere length in early life predicts lifespan (Heidinger et al, 2012). Can you identify where the authors have used each of these different types of citations? 

Once you have completed your own first writing sample, take a look at your initial sources that you have cited, plot them onto this rubric. Where do your citations fall? Do you have sources that you are using in all of these categories? Do you notice any gaps in your sources?  Finally, consider where you might locate additional sources of the type that you need?