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Start Your Research at the Library!
Before You Begin Researching
Some questions to think about before you dive in:
- Have you considered the full range of possible primary sources and only then selected the text?
- Do you/will you have access to the primary source(s) in the editions you need?
- Need help with identifying potential primary sources? Search Literature Resource Center and Literature Criticism Online for lists of literary works.
- Who was reading what when? Issues of readership and reception may be important! Do you need access to these historical sources themselves?
- The MLA International Bibliography is the obvious subject database to search, but would it be helpful to also search the databases of other disciplines, specifically history and religion?
- Will it be helpful to note reactions to various critical approaches? For example, will you need to look at reviews of scholarly books?
The BEAM Framework
Research is connected to your writing. Relevant sources will address your questions and fit your purpose. 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.