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GQS 201: Intro to Gender, Queer, and Feminist Studies

Reading a Scholarly Article

During the preview phase, you'll want to concentrate on these key elements:

  • Abstract (if available)
  • First paragraph (sometimes the second paragraph, too): What does the author want to find out? What is the research question the author is asking?
  • Evidence: What are the primary sources the author uses?
  • Scholarly conversation: What are the other scholarly works (secondary sources) the author uses?
  • Conclusion (typically the last paragraph): How does the author tie the evidence together to answer the research question? What is the significance of this research?

Once you've selected the article, you can actively read for content, argument, analysis and evaluation. 

Tip: Read the article more than once! It may help to print out a copy so that you can make notes.


For any research project, you will want to use a variety of sources, both in type and points of view. Assignments may have requirements regarding the genres of sources you may use (academic, popular, etc.), formats (print, online, etc.), and publication dates (current, relevant, timely, etc.). No matter the topic, having a variety of sources is necessary to explore your research question.

After you have identified what types of sources you will use for your research, you will want to identify how you can use them. All source types might be appropriate for a research project based on how you use the source.

To figure out how to use a source, you should use the BEAM method developed by Joseph Bizup. BEAM stands for BACKGROUND, EXHIBIT, ARGUMENT, METHOD.

BACKGROUND: using a source to provide general information to explain a topic. For example, using an encyclopedia article on the history of anime to highlight changes to the genre over time provides background context for your research.

EXHIBIT: using a source as evidence or examples to analyze. In a literature paper, for example, this might be a short story you are analyzing. For a film studies paper, this might be a film you analyze.

ARGUMENT: using a source to engage with the argument it presents. For example, you might use a newspaper editorial about climate change to reiterate and support or refute its claims in your own paper.

METHOD: using the way a source analyzes and issue to apply to your own issue. For example, you might use a particular theoretical framework, definitions, and/or conclusions of a study about political affiliations of different demographics in Los Angeles with like demographics in New York City. 

Works Cited: Bizup, Joseph. “BEAM: A Rhetorical Vocabulary for Teaching Research-Based Writing.” Rhetoric Review, vol. 27, no. 1, Jan. 2008, pp. 72–86. EBSCOhost,