Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation
Main content start

Searching for BEAM (Background, Exhibit, Argument, and Method) to Guide Research

Detail of Searching for BEAM handout

John Peterson

Overview: This activity, derived from Joseph Bizup, teaches research by helping students understand their sources through a rhetorical framework.

Author:  John Peterson

Activity name: Searching for BEAM (Background, Exhibit, Argument, and Method) to Guide Research

Activity brief description: This research strategy overview is based on Joseph Bizup’s concept of guiding student research through a search for BEAM: Background, Exhibits, Arguments, Method. It is central to the TiC for PWR 1, and it useful as review for PWR 2.

Class: PWR 1/PWR 2

Schedule: Early introduction to research methods, such as in weeks 3, 4, 5, but could work at any time when you're talking about research methodology and working with sources.

Activity length:  50 min.

Activity goals: 

  1. Students create agenda for finding research materials — could almost design a checklist of sorts.
  2. Students learn how to talk about how research materials fit into their projects.

Activity details: See handout and article by Joseph Bizup.

Additional notes: Bizup’s article is designed to offer an alternative to referring to research only in terms of primary, secondary, and tertiary research. Rather, he frames the search for sources in terms that label how a student will use materials both in learning about a topic and presenting researched material to readers.