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ENC 1101-1102

Freshman Composition and Rhetoric and Freshman Writing, Reading, and Research

The BEAM Model

The BEAM Model Stands for Background, Evidence, Argument, and Method, and refers to four different ways you can invoke sources when writing a paper. 

You can call in a source as Background if it provides context for the topic you are writing on, such as:

  • biographical or historical detail
  • facts or other relevant information 

You can invoke a source as Evidence when it the material you are analyzing or interpreting. This is often the primary source text you are talking about in a paper. This can include:

  • close reading of a relevant passage
  • quotations from a primary text

You can bring Arguments into a paper to either support, refute or complicate them. Arguments are usually secondary scholarship that addresses the topic of your paper or a similar topic. This includes:

  • journal articles, scholarly books, or book chapters on your topic
  • opinion pieces, popular books, and other pieces of writing that state a position

Methods are invoked in a paper as a means of providing a theoretical framework for the paper. These include:

  • papers that articulate a method for approaching a text 
  • theoretical or philosophical texts that articulate a way of thinking about the world


Bizup, J. (2008). “BEAM: A rhetorical vocabulary for teaching research-based writing.” Rhetoric Review 27, 1: 72-86

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