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5. Using Information: BEAM: Argument Sources

Argument sources provide you with the other voices in the academic dialogue. Who else has done similar research, and how does your paper respond to it? Does it refine or extend an existing hypothesis?

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Sometimes the purpose of including a source is to disagree with it and definitively indicate a different direction.

From our pop culture essay example:

Althusser's work remains compelling, despite the fact that theorists such as Michel de Certeau and John Fiske have argued that individuals actually have a considerable ability to resist and oppose the messages conveyed to them by official ideology, in popular culture and elsewhere.

The author is presenting and taking a stance in the ongoing scholarly discussion of culture, although this endorsement could possibly be considered a method source if the argument in the article went a different direction.

Pop Quiz

Which of the following would be the best example of a background source that would not need to be cited in the BEAM framework?

  1. "There were a total of 39 delegates who signed the U.S. Constitution; William Jackson was the 40th, but served as secretary and did not represent a state."
  2. "Thought to be limited to bat populations, the fungi responsible for the fast-spreading disease known as White-nose syndrome has been linked with similar infections affecting amphibians."
  3. "Having published over 300 reports since 2000, the Pew Internet & American Life Project has been a trusted source for research into online behavior."
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