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Flashlight: using Bizup’s BEAM to illuminate the rhetoric of research

Kate Rubick (Aubrey R. Watzek Library, Lewis & Clark College, Portland, Oregon, USA)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Article publication date: 9 February 2015




This paper aims to demonstrate how a librarian at a liberal arts college partnered with a professor of rhetoric and media studies to teach students methods to classify sources using Bizup’s BEAM.


Students in rhetorical criticism, read the Bizup article on BEAM. The library instruction included a discussion of the article and an application exercise where students classified cited references in a peer-reviewed journal article using BEAM.


BEAM was a valuable addition to the rhetorical criticism course. The application exercise used in the library instruction session introduced BEAM as a tool to be used in reading and evaluating sources. Students were able to apply what they learned as they selected, deciphered and interpreted sources of information for use in their academic writing.

Practical implications

Librarians teaching in a variety of academic disciplines may use or adapt BEAM as a tool for helping students learn to critically evaluate information sources, as they read texts and as they engage in research-based writing assignments.


This work showcases how librarians using BEAM can extend library teaching beyond traditional bibliographic instruction and into the realm of critical inquiry. It also demonstrates how librarians can use BEAM to initiate conversations with academic faculty about information literacy. It also contributes to an emerging area of scholarship involving the use of BEAM to teach source evaluation.



The author wishes to thank Kundai Chirindo, Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Media Studies at Lewis & Clark College. Without his willingness to collaborate with the author to incorporate BEAM into the curriculum for his Rhetorical Criticism course, this work would not have been possible.


Rubick, K. (2015), "Flashlight: using Bizup’s BEAM to illuminate the rhetoric of research", Reference Services Review, Vol. 43 No. 1, pp. 98-111.



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