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What Does a DBQ Essay Mean?

DBQ stands for Document Based Questions. For such questions, students are given specific documents that must be studied carefully, and then the given questions must be answered. Mainly, the student has to write an essay after analyzing the documents. This type of essay was part of AP history exams in the past, but now it is gaining popularity. Many students find it difficult to answer such questions due to a lack of awareness, but this guide will help you write the best document-based question essay. Previous knowledge is a major component of writing a DBQ essay.

How Do You Write a DBQ Essay?

To write a DBQ essay, you need to be aware of some rules or tips. The key points for writing such essays are:

  1. Carefully read the given document. Do not skim the text; it will only put you in hardship.
  2. Focus on keywords like since, cultural, society, etc.
  3. Collect relevant evidence that supports the main idea.
  4. Think out of the box.
  5. Pick the best idea that comes to your mind once you have carefully read the document.
  6. Develop a thesis statement.
  7. State the writer’s point of view.
  8. Go through the documents again and polish the thesis statement.
  9. Most importantly, manage your time in the perfect manner so that you have sufficient time for reading, writing, and revising the essay.

DBQ Essay Outline

The basic outline of a DBQ essay is similar to other essay types. It consists of an introduction, the body paragraphs, and the conclusion. The minimum number of paragraphs should be four; introduction, body paragraph 1, body paragraph 2, conclusion.

Once you have designed the thesis statement, you can put the ideas in a table that shows the document number, information taken from the document, information from other resources.

How Do You Write an Introduction for a DBQ?

A strong introduction is responsible for extra points when you are writing a DBQ essay.

  • The introduction should start with a brief historical context reflecting the period you are going to talk about in the body paragraphs.
  • After the historical context, a good thesis statement is an important part of the introduction.
  • Once you have written the thesis, state a precise sentence that will reflect the areas you are going to cover in the essay.

After the introduction, explain the thesis statement by providing necessary supporting details from the given documents. Make sure you do not copy all the points from the documents. Blend your knowledge with the points from documents, and that would be the best. Keep the AP history requirements in mind while blending your points. For AP US history, you will be asked to provide maximum details from outside sources while some points can be cited from the given documents.

At least two paragraphs are necessary for a document-based essay. Each paragraph should explain one point. For bonus points, prove that the points you have stated have evidence in the documents. Be precise while providing information. Your point of view should be clear in a minimum number of words. Writing the whole story will not give you marks.

Apart from how to write the body paragraphs, be confident with your points and show that you have understood the period really well.

After the body paragraphs, a strong conclusion will make your way to bonus marks. A strong conclusion and introduction have equal importance. Restate the thesis statement and summarize your discussion into two or three sentences. The conclusion should not include any new points and must be brief.

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Explain the causes of the rise of women’s rights movement in the period 1940-1975.

Suppose this is the question in your exam.

  • You will be given documents (the number of the document varies)
  • Analyze the documents and then brainstorm points that are relevant and can be linked to the points from the documents.
  • Make sure you give your essay a strong introduction.
  • Add a minimum of 2 body paragraphs.
  • End your essay with a strong conclusion. Do not tell stories here. Just summarize what you have discussed in the body paragraphs.
  • Make sure you revise the essay to minimize the errors.
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Bottom Line

To be precise, analyze the documents carefully. Do not copy all the points from documents; add information from other resources as well. Manage your time for the better reading of documents and then writing the essay. Keep a five-minute margin for revising the essay; everyone can make mistakes while writing.

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