Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Banner Image

BMB 464: Analytical and Preparative Biochemical Laboratory Methods: Home

Using Sources In Your Paper

What role(s) do cited sources play in a scientific paper? Think BEAM (1).

Background: Accepted facts, core concepts, literature gaps. (Introduction)

[Exhibit or "evidence": What you analyze, then elaborate upon later in the paper. Generally, scientific "exhibits" are your own data in the Results section—not requiring citation within the same paper.]

Arguments: Other research with which you hold a scholarly conversation—agreeing, disputing, extending. (Discussion)

Methods: Research procedures you followed. Explain rationale for selecting a particular procedure, credit others for developing procedures, eliminate verbiage in describing your own procedures.  (Methods)

"Common knowledge" within a field is often presented without citations. E.g., no need to cite a definition of "temperate phage" when writing for other biomedical researchers who work with phages.

1. Bizup, J. (2008) BEAM: A rhetorical vocabulary for teaching research-based writing. Rhetoric Rev. 27, 72-86

Reading Scientific Literature

Scholarly Communication Formats

Image of scientific information & communication cycle

Image credit: College of Wooster Libraries; converted to flattened PNG format to prevent distortion

5729 Fogler Library · University of Maine · Orono, ME 04469-5729 ; (207) 581-1673

Chat is offline. Contact the library.