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SSI2-196: Postmodernism and the Challenge of Belief : Research Process

Types of Sources

In academic research, it's important to be able to distinguish between different types of sources.  These differences often are contextual, meaning that the same source might fit in different categories depending on how you are using it, and within which academic discipline you're researching and writing.

Primary sources are the raw materials of scholarship.

Secondary sources report on or interpret primary sources.

Tertiary sources synthesize and present overviews of primary and secondary sources.

Scholarly sources present sophisticated, researched arguments using both primary and secondary sources and are written by experts.

Popular sources aim to inform or entertain and are intended for a general, non-specialized audience.  In academic writing, popular sources most often are analyzed as primary sources.

BEAM Handout

What is Research?

Research is a creative, nonlinear process.  Experienced scholars will tell you that they rarely end up exactly where they thought they would when they first started out.  You'll need to give yourself the time to pursue ideas, reconsider ideas in light of new information, and then craft an original, researched argument.

To be successful in college-level research, you will need to make use of the resources and services of the library.  Here are a few reasons why:

  • Much scholarship and information is not available freely on the web.  Libraries pool their resources to purchase on your behalf access to quality information sources such as databases, journal collections, and reference resources.
  • Many materials are not available electronically, either because they have not been digitized yet or their original creators do not wish to make them available digitally.
  • Libraries cooperate with one another to lend you items that are not immediately available in your home library.
  • Librarians are experts in the organization of knowledge and can help you find treasures that perhaps you didn't even know existed!

BEAM Framework

BEAM is an acronym intended to help us think about the various ways we use sources when writing a researched argument.  The BEAM model comes from a 2008 article by Joseph Bizup.  

 

Social Sciences Liaison Librarian

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Andrea J. Klyn
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Contact:
Office: LIB 141
253.879.2875

Work with a Peer Research Advisor!

Fall 2022 Hours
Peer research advisor drop-in hours are in Library 118 as follows:

Sunday:  6-9 pm
Monday: 6-9 pm
Tuesday: 6-9 pm

Additional times and locations (just look for the sign!):
Diversions: 
Tuesday:  10-11 am
Wednesday:  12-1 pm
Oppenheimer: 
Thursday: 1-2 pm
 
Or schedule an appointment and select Caroline, Kai, or Neil.

Peer Research Advisors