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BISSKL 375: Research Writing Seminar (Atkinson): Workshop #2

Workshop #2

Learning goals: After today's class you will be able to:

1) Evaluate authors' research methods and use of evidence in order to deepen your ability to evaluate scholarly sources, and in order to apply the process to sources encountered during your research.

2) Use the BEAM method to identify and critically evaluate the resources you've gathered. 

A. Tracking down the research..

1) Spend a few minutes browsing the postScience Has Great News for People Who Read Actual Books” by Rachel Grate. This piece provides an overview of our sample research topic.

Grate's discussion contains the following paragraph:

"While e-readers try to recreate the sensation of turning pages and pagination, the screen is limited to one ephemeral virtual page. Surveys about the use of e-readers suggest that this affects a reader's serendipity and sense of control. The inability to flip back to previous pages or control the text physically, either through making written notes or bending pages, limits one's sensory experience and thus reduces long-term memory of the text."

That second link refers us to a study discussion in Scientific American....



2) Open the Scientific American article and read paragraphs 10-13 to familiarize yourself with studies on paper versus computer screen reading. Those paragraphs begin "Beyond treating individual letters as physical objects..."


3) Now consult one of the original research studies cited in this discussions: Anne Mangen, Bente R. Walgermo, Kolbjørn Brønnick. “Reading linear texts on paper versus computer screen: Effects on reading.” International Journal of Educational Research. 58 (2013) 61–68.

You will use this study to fill out the Methods & Evidence worksheet in groups. You do not need to read the entire article, but can skip directly to the sections indicated by the worksheet prompts.

Hint: If you need help or clarification on this study, paragraphs 14-15 in Scientific American give a handy summary of it. Those paragraphs begin "At least a few studies suggest...

Activity: Evaluating Research Methods & Evidence


  • Get into pairs or small groups.
  • When both of you have finished responding to your prompts, compare what you learned about the authors' research methods and use of evidence.
  • Be prepared for some reporting out and discussion.


And now, Learning Goal #2: The BEAM Method



BEAM imageSample evaluation:

Take a look at each of the documents below. Take a few minutes and determine what type of source it is according to the BEAM Method (Background, Exhibit/Evidence, Argument, Method/Theory). Be ready to discuss your choices.


Sample research topic: The 'bromance' in popular culture. 

Are bromances a new phenomenon? Or have these intimate same-sex friendships existed throughout history, and recently been glorified/normalized by Hollywood?

After viewing each source, decide the type of source it is.

Gender Rules: Same- and Cross-Gender Friendships Norms
B - Background: 2 votes (11.76%)
E - Evidence: 1 votes (5.88%)
A - Argument: 14 votes (82.35%)
M - Method: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 17
Relax Dear, Its just a Bromance
B - Background: 3 votes (13.64%)
E - Evidence: 7 votes (31.82%)
A - Argument: 3 votes (13.64%)
M - Method: 9 votes (40.91%)
Total Votes: 22
The Man Question
B - Background: 0 votes (0%)
E - Evidence: 9 votes (64.29%)
A - Argument: 1 votes (7.14%)
M - Method: 4 votes (28.57%)
Total Votes: 14
B - Background: 13 votes (86.67%)
E - Evidence: 1 votes (6.67%)
A - Argument: 1 votes (6.67%)
M - Method: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 15

Activity: Identifying and Evaluating Types of Research


  • Individually, go over the sources in your annotated bibliography and determine what type of source it is using the BEAM Method.
  • After determining the source type, evaluate and describe how the source might be useful in the context of your research.

          - How does this source strengthen your argument?

          - How will you be analyzing the source AND adding your own ideas or responses?

          - Does your bib appear to be particularly heavy or light on one type of source?

More about BEAM...

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