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SSI1-145: Anime Bodies: Metamorphoses and Identities

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,


BEAM as Reading Strategy

Let's return to the article by Ortabasi:

Ortabasi, Melek. “(Re)Animating Folklore: Raccoon Dogs, Foxes, and Other Supernatural Japanese Citizens in Takahata Isao’s Heisei Tanuki Gassen Pompoko.” Marvels & Tales, vol. 27, no. 2, 2013, pp. 254–75. JSTOR,

Working in your group, identify one place where Ortabasi uses a source as an exhibit source, and another instance when Ortabasi uses a different source as argument source.  Be ready to explain your thinking!

Applying BEAM in different contexts

You are in charge of deciding whether and how to use any given source.  Working in your groups, respond to the following scenarios.

1.  Consider this source:

Keeline, Kim. "Animé." St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, edited by Thomas Riggs, 2nd ed., vol. 1, St. James Press, 2013, pp. 107-108. Gale Virtual Reference Library,

Using the BEAM framework, how might you consider using this source?  Identify two BEAM categories where you might use this source and explain your reasoning.

2.  Consider this source:

Lunning, Frenchy. “Under the Ruffles: Shōjo and the Morphology of Power.” Mechademia, vol. 6, 2011, pp. 3–19. JSTOR,

What exhibit sources does Lunning analyze?  How do you know?

3.  Consider this source:

Romano, Aja. “Cowboy Bebop, Explained: Everything You Need to Know about the Legendary Anime--and Why There’s so Much Riding on Netflix’s Remake.” Vox, 18 Nov. 2021,

Would you use this source in your academic writing?  If so, as what kind of BEAM category, and in what circumstances?