Skip to Main Content

BIOL 404: Molecular Biology

Thoughtful Citations

When citing sources in your writing, it's important to be thoughtful about the citations that you choose to use, and when you use them. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  1. Are you citing a robust variety of different sources, and making sure that the source you are citing is the best source you can find to support the statement that you are making? 
  2. Are all of your statements or claims adequately supported with a citation? Do you understand when it's necessary to include a citation and when it might be appropriate not to include one? 
  3. Are you citing the right kind of source at the right moment? Do you have the appropriate balance of different types of sources? Generally speaking, you wouldn't want to cite only review articles, for instance. 

BEAM Framework

BEAM is an acronym intended to us think about the various ways we might use sources when writing a researched argument. Joseph Bizup, an English professor at Boston University, outlined the framework in a 2008 article. The idea has since been refined and adapted by many others.

Making BEAM Work for You


  • How can you tell which of the BEAM categories a reference would fit into? 
  • What role does this type of source play in your work? When would you cite this type of source?

Let's take a look at the article "Interaction of the oncoprotein transcription factor MYC with its chromatin cofactor WDR5 is essential for tumor maintenance" (Tansey et al 2019).  

  • Can you identify where the authors have used each of these different types of citations? 


Getting Help!

There are several ways to get help with your research