|Source Function||Explanation||Examples||Common Locations|
|Background||Factual and noncontroversial information, providing context||
Encyclopedia articles, overviews in books, statistics, historical facts; see CREDO Reference
|Exhibit/Evidence||Data, observations, objects, artifacts, documents that can be analyzed||
Text of a novel, field observations, focus group transcriptions, questionnaire data, results of an experiment, interview data (primary sources)
|Body, Results section|
|Argument||Critical views from other scholars and commentators; part of the academic conversation||Scholarly articles, books, critical reviews (e.g. literacy criticism), editorials||
Body, sometimes in Introduction or in Literature Review
|Method (or Theory)||Reference to methods or theories used, usually explicit though may be implicit; approach or research methodology used||
Part of books or articles with reference to theorists (e.g. Foucault, Derrida) or theory (e.g. feminism, post-colonialism, new historicism etc.); information on a research methodology
|Methods section or referenced in Introduction or Body|
A source may serve more than one function. For instance, a journal article could include background information, exhibits, argument and method. However, some sources are focused on a single function. For example, an encyclopedia entry on “Alzheimer's disease” is likely to only serve as background information.
Using Your Sources: The BEAM Research Model (3:25), from Portland State University Library
What am I going to do with my sources? BEAM ask you to consider the function of the source.