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Michigan State University

MC 498: History & Future of Modern Feminism

Fall 2021 | Dr. Allison Berg

Research Log Example

The BEAM Model

The BEAM Model can help you think about the different ways to use sources in your writing. There are four major types of sources that you will engage with during your research process:

Source type Description
B - Background Background sources provide you with context for your research or a broad overview of a topic. Common types of background sources are encyclopedias, textbooks, or other summaries.
E - Exhibit Exhibit sources are the material that you analyze and interpret. Commonly, exhibit sources are primary sources, including data, pictures, documents, laws, first-hand narratives, etc.
A - Argument Argument sources provide you insight into the current state of research on your topic. They are most commonly peer reviewed or scholarly sources. In your writing, you may refute, refine, affirm, or extend the arguments of these sources.
M - Method Method sources demonstrate ways of analyzing your exhibit sources, or definitions of critical concepts. These might be research studies or peer reviewed articles. They can be about topics related to or adjacent to yours, as long as you can apply the methods used to your own research.

Adapted from Bizup, Joseph. “BEAM: A Rhetorical Vocabulary for Teaching Research-Based Writing.”

BEAM Example History & Future of Modern Feminism

Example topic: The impact of the Combahee River Collective on the feminist movement of the 1970s

Source type Description
B - Background An encyclopedia article about the Combahee River Collective
E - Exhibit The text of the Combahee River Collective Statement, which you plan to analyze (we have a copy in Murray and Hong Special Collections)
A - Argument A peer reviewed study analyzing the impact of the Combahee River Collective on the lesbian feminist movement
M - Method A study analyzing writings of other Black lesbian feminists, using a method and theories that you plan to emulate
Michigan State University