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Writing a DBQ


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  • I had to take this research class in senior year and I’m going to be honest with you, senioritis hit me hard. I could not bring myself to write the term paper for that class so I ordered it online from this website called The research paper turned out very well (it was supposed to be long and complicated) and the teacher was really impressed with it. I got an A and everyone was happy.
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Writing a DBQ

  1. 1. THE DBQ (Documents Based Question) The DBQ is like any other essay Must have an introductory paragraph with a clearly established thesis and a summary of the evidence you will use to defend the thesis 60 minutes – 15 minutes of preparation where you CANNOT begin writing your essay but you can write on the documents and in the margins of the test – 45 minutes of writing your DBQ essay
  2. 2. THE DOCUMENTS The documents relate to the essay question The documents can be charts, graphs, and political cartoons as well as private letters, diary entries, and public speeches. The documents are always in chronological order
  3. 3. THE DOCUMENTS Consider the documents as research that has already been done for you Your job is to include this research in your essay to strengthen your argument
  4. 4. OUTSIDE INFORMATION Your DBQ essay must contain what we call OUTSIDE INFORMATION!!!! Outside Information is your knowledge of history that is outside of what the documents tell you Every essay you’ve ever written has included outside information The MAJORITY of information and analysis in your DBQ essay MUST come from outside information
  5. 5. NUTS AND BOLTS After you have read the essay question a few times, create a list of the relevant outside information you will incorporate into your essay Create a T-Chart if that is helpful Then, read each document – Note the source of the document – Read the document for the overall message of that particular source
  6. 6. NUTS AND BOLTS – Write down the main message(s) of the source – Consider how that source relates to the question – When you have completed all of the documents, GROUP them. – Which documents tend to support position A? Which support position B? Which depend upon interpretation? Which contain an obvious bias?
  7. 7. INCORPORATING THE DOCUMENTS INTO YOUR ESSAY You CANNOT just say what the document says You are graded on your level of ANALYSIS How does the document relate to your thesis? How does the document help prove your thesis?
  8. 8. INCORPORATING THE DOCUMENTS INTO YOUR ESSAY Demonstrates/Demonstrating Illustrates/Illustrating Exemplifies/Exemplifying Shows/Showing Proves/Proving Establishes/Establishing Explains/Explaining
  9. 9. INCORPORATING THE DOCUMENTS INTO YOUR ESSAY NEVER say “document”…NEVER say “Document A says…” Incorporate the documents with approaches like this: – “President Polk believed (summary of the main idea.) This demonstrates that (your analysis”) – “In a letter written to so and so President Polk argued that (summary of the main idea) exemplifying his belief that (your analysis”)
  10. 10. INCORPORATING THE DOCUMENTS INTO YOUR ESSAY “Political cartoons of the time period displayed Polk as a blankety- blankety-blank” “American soldiers like Colonel Ethan Allen Hitchcock felt that (summary of the main idea.) Hitchcock’s perspective shows that (your analysis”)
  11. 11. INCORPORATING THE DOCUMENTS INTO YOUR ESSAY You CAN incorporate documents that do not align with your thesis “In his message to Congress President Polk argued that yada, yada, yada. Polk failed to point out that…” “Despite the fact that men like John Slidell felt yada, yada, yada, the United States…”
  12. 12. INCORPORATING THE DOCUMENTS INTO YOUR ESSAY You MUST incorporate a MAJORITY of the documents into your essay. Do NOT quote from the documents…I repeat, Do NOT quote from the documents
  13. 13. IN CONCLUSION Remember, the documents are there to help you defend your thesis. You are using them as part of your analysis/argument therefore you must show how they connect to your thesis.