DBQ Writing Solutions
- DBQ Writing Tips
- Outside Info
- Bucketing Info
- Outlining Info
- Use of Docs
- Scoring Rubric
- Reflection Process
- Portfolio Directions
- Writing does not have to be a weakness any longer, it can be turned into a strength with the right amount of effort and focus.
- As a young student, it would be a great benefit to focus on improving on these skills at this stage of your educational career as opposed to putting it off for later when teachers will assume you have mastered the skills of writing.
- It is infinitely better to go through the trial error process of improving on your writing now while we are squabbling over letter grades and percentage points, as opposed to making needless errors on college entrance exams or job applications.
How to Write a DBQ 2023
A DBQ essay is an assigned task which tests a student’s analyzation and understanding skills. They also test a student in thinking outside the box. These skills are essential for success in gaining this academic qualification. In this article from EssayPro — professional essay writers team, we will talk about how to write a DBQ, we will go through the DBQ format, and show you a DBQ example.
What Is a DBQ?
Many students may prosper: “What is a DBQ?”. Long story short, DBQ Essay or “Document Based Question” is an assigned academic paper which is part of the AP U.S. History exam (APUSH) set by the United States College Board. It requires a student’s knowledge of a certain topic with evidence from around 3 to 16 reliable sources. Understanding the APUSH DBQ and its outline is essential for success in the exam, itself.
We understand that learning how to write a DBQ essay can be difficult for beginners. This is why our professional writers have listed the DBQ format for your own reference while preparing for the exam. Like all essays, this involves an introduction, thesis, body, and conclusion.
- An introductory sentence to hook your audience.
- State the background of the topic. Using a source relating to a historical occurrence or historical figure can be helpful at this time.
- Describe the claims made in your paper which can be supported by the evidence.
- Create a brief description of the evidence that will be included in the body paragraphs.
- Write a paragraph which talks about how the DBQ essay question will be answered.
Body Paragraph 1
- Include the strongest argument. This should be linked to the thesis statement. Read our example of thesis statement .
- Include an analysis of the references which relate to the strongest argument.
- Write a statement which concludes the analysis in a different point of view. Include a link to the thesis.
- Write a transition sentence to the next body paragraph.
Body Paragraph 2
- Include a reasonable argument which links to the thesis, and the first argument in the previous body paragraph.
Body Paragraph 3
- Include a reasonable argument which links to the thesis, and the second argument in the previous body paragraph.
- Write a transition sentence to the conclusion.
- Create a summarizing argument of the whole paper.
- Include the main points or important information in the sources.
- Create a concluding sentence or question which challenges the point of view that argues against these sources.
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How to Write a DBQ: Step-By-Step Instructions
For some students, writing a DBQ essay may be hard. Not to worry. Our easy-to-read step-by-step instructions talk about the essential points which includes how to write a DBQ thesis, analyzation, time-management and proofreading your work. It is always important to write your paper in accordance to the DBQ outline for achieving the success you’re capable of.
The DBQ involves:
- Planning: 15 Minutes
- Writing: 2 hours and 45 Minutes
- Proofreading: 10 Minutes
Time management is essential for a successful grade in this form of examination. The general DBQ outline states that the duration is 3 hours and 15 minutes. Spend around 15 minutes planning, 2 hours and 45 minutes writing, and 10 minutes proofreading. Follow these easy-to-read step-by-step instructions to learn how to write a DBQ thesis, body and conclusion successfully.
Step 1: Planning (15 Minutes)
During the exam, it is important to study the provided sources. The exam is 3 hours, so 15 minutes for planning is a reasonable approach. During this time, analyze all of the important key-points from the sources provided. Then, take a note of all of the key points, and write them under the titles; introduction, thesis, body, and conclusion.
Step 2: Introduction (5 Minutes)
First impressions count. Keep the introduction short and brief. Don’t go straight into answering the question in this part of the paper. For a successful introduction, write a brief summary of the overall paper. It is also important to include an introductory sentence.
Step 3: Thesis (20 Minutes)
This form of essay requires a separate 3 paragraphs for the DBQ thesis. Describe the claims made in your paper which can be supported by the evidence. The second paragraph should include a description of the paper. The third paragraph should include how you’re going to answer the question.
- The key difference with other essays is that the thesis plays an important role in the DBQ structure.
- The APUSH DBQ thesis should not be two sentences long.
- The thesis should be written with act least 2 or 3 paragraphs long.
Step 4: Body (2 Hours and 16 Minutes)
Write well-structured, categorized paragraphs. Each paragraph should include one point. Avoid mixing ideas in the paragraphs. Include your answer to the assigned question with the provided documents. It is also important to read between the lines. Each paragraph should link to the thesis.
Step 5: Conclusion (10 Minutes)
The final part of your paper. The conclusion plays a vital role in persuading your audience. A poorly written conclusion means a skeptical audience. For well-written conclusion, summarize the entire paper. Link the conclusion to the thesis. Answer the question in a concluding sentence, “the big idea”.
Step 6: Proofreading (10 Minutes)
Spend around 10 minutes proofreading your work at the end of the exam. It is important to proofread your work to make sure it does not contain any grammatical mistakes. Any writing errors can lower one’s grade. Please make sure that the body paragraphs answer the question and link to the thesis, this is the most important part of the paper.
Writing Tips to Success with Your DBQ Essay
Understand: Before writing, make sure that you understand the sources and the essay question. Duration: Remember that the exam duration is 3 hours and 15 minutes. Study: Practice how to write a DBQ before the actual exam. Identify: Find the key-points from the sources to include in your essay.
Read Between the Lines: Don’t just write about what you read, but write about what the passages imply. Read all Documents: Make sure you have read all of the sources, prior to writing the paper. Read the Outline: Following the DBQ essay outline is essential for understanding how to structure the paper during the exam. Categorize: Put each point into categories. This will come in useful for writing the body paragraphs. Write the Author’s Opinion: Show an understanding of the writer’s point of view. Write a Temporary DBQ Thesis on your Notes: Doing so will assist you during the paper writing. Follow DBQ Examples: Following a DBQ essay example, while studying, is an excellent way to get a feel for this form of assignment.
Do you need more help? Following a sample DBQ essay can be very useful for preparation. Usually, when practicing for exams, students commonly refer to an example for understanding the DBQ structure, and other revision purposes. Click on the button to open our DBQ example from one of our professional writers. Feel free to use it as a reference when learning how to write a DBQ.
The Great War and the second ordeal of conflict in Europe, played a fundamental in the increase of the rights for women. During the second world war, the British government encouraged house-wives to do the work of what was primarily traditional for men to do.Such as growing crops and butchering animals, which was generally considered to be“men’s work”. One of the slogans was “dig for victory”. The reason for this was for people to take care of themselves during the difficult times of rationing.
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Following steps and outlines for custom writing is a great way to learn how to write a DBQ essay. As well as writing tips. Time management is vital for the positive result. Following our advice will enable you to get a good grade by learning how to write a good DBQ. Because learning the DBQ format is essential. Practice is very important for any form of examination. Otherwise, one could not do as well as his or her potential allows him or her to do so.
You might be interested in information about this type of essay, such as the definition essay .
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AP® US History
How to write a new ap® us history dbq.
- The Albert Team
- Last Updated On: March 1, 2022
Hey! We wrote an updated version of this post here . Check it out for helpful videos and FRQ tips.
The dreaded AP® US History Document Based Question. For years it has struck fear in the hearts of many, turned boys into men and rookie students into old, weathered veterans. Rumor has it that little Jimmy Walker once took the AP® US History exam and when he got to the DBQ section, proceeded to spontaneously combust. Okay, so maybe that is a little dramatic. But the DBQ can be a really intimidating process that stands in the way of success for many students. Lucky for you, with this comprehensive guide, it can be relatively painless, and you will be well on your way to academic success and glory.
To start with, it is a good idea to figure out what exactly you are trying to accomplish on the DBQ . The quickest way to a high score is to know what the test scorers are looking for, and then do it! The rubric for grading the AP® US History DBQ can be found here . Also lucky for you, we broke down the rubric to make it easy to understand. Before you continue through the rest of this how-to guide, be sure to go check out the DBQ rubric guide here .
All right, so now you know what they are looking for and what you are trying to accomplish. Let’s get started.
The DBQ Layout:
Okay, so here’s how it works. Basically, you will be given an essay prompt, a set of primary source documents (never more than 7), and only 60 minutes to come up with a well written, clear and coherent essay response. The general rule of thumb, recommended by the good people at CollegeBoard, is to dedicate about 15 of those precious minutes to planning and the last 45 to writing. That may seem a little overwhelming, but it is totally doable! Especially with these 6 easy steps!
1. Read the Question.
Then figure out what the question is asking you. I can’t stress this enough, figuring out what the prompt is asking you is critical. No matter how good of a writer you are, or how much history you may know, if you don’t answer the question, you are sunk. A neat tip might be to write out in your own words what the question is asking.
As you are reading the question, be on the lookout for which skills they are trying to test you on. Every DBQ is looking to test your skills of historical argumentation, use of historical evidence, contextualization , and synthesis. These things are outlined in the rubric and are consistent parts of every good DBQ. In addition to these critical skills, a DBQ will be looking to analyze one of a number of certain skills. These include: causation, change/continuity over time, comparison, interpretation, or periodization. Don’t waste too much time trying to figure this out, and don’t get so caught up in it that you forget to answer the actual question, just be sure to keep it in mind as you plan out your answer.
That probably seems like an insanely long first step, but all of that will really only take a couple of minutes and set you up to breeze through the rest of the process. Once you have thoroughly read and interpreted the question, you are ready for step number 2!
2. Dig into the Sources
While you want to make sure that you read each document, don’t waste your time on too focused of a reading. Underline or highlight things that stand out, and make notes out to the side. One suggestion is to write a quick sentence or two that summarizes the main idea of each document. And again, this is all just part of the 15-minute planning period; so don’t get too caught up on any document. You are just looking for main ideas and details that really stand out. To take this one step further, you can organize the documents into groups based on their main point. (For highest score possibilities, make sure to use either all or all but one of the primary source documents).
3. Make an Outline.
First decide on a thesis, and from there think about how you want to use your primary source documents to support that thesis. Think about what kinds of outside information you might want to bring in to further support your argument, and where it will fit into your essay as a whole. Once more, don’t get stuck mapping out every single thing that you are going to say, but be sure that you include documents where they fit in the response. This will make it much easier to incorporate them into your answer. Hopefully it has only been 15 minutes or less at this point and you are now ready to write!
4. Start Writing!
Most of your highly intensive, critical thinking type stuff should already have happened and now it is just all about putting those thoughts into words. If you played your cards right and made good use of the first 15 minutes, this part of the process should be pretty straightforward. Start with a brief introduction that gives a little context to the subject matter and shows that you know some of the details surrounding the subject matter. Introduce your thesis, then a few of your main ideas that support your thesis. This part of your paper is not much different than a regular essay response.
5. Keep Writing!
As you get going on some longer paragraphs and stringing together lots of sophisticated and smart sounding sentences, it can be easy to lose sight of the main points of your paper. I have said it a couple times already, but it is absolutely essential that you answer the question!
A few key things to keep in mind as you write your body:
1. Use specific references from your documents, and always show where you are getting the information. At the same time, don’t just use huge block quotes to take up a bunch of space. Use what you need to answer the question.
2. Make sure you use some outside knowledge to support your argument, along with your documents. Specific examples that aren’t on the documents are super helpful in making your argument stronger, and just showing that you know what you are talking about.
3. Don’t forget to contextualize. Things that happen in history are not isolated events, and the circumstances surrounding things matter. Don’t forget to address that.
6. Wrap it up with a ballin’ conclusion.
Don’t draw it out and don’t introduce new ideas in the conclusion. Make it short and to the point. Summarize what your main thesis and arguments were and leave it at that. Don’t try to be too clever or witty or trite and you actually don’t have to use the term “In conclusion” every time you write a conclusion. (Mind blown, I know).
If you follow these 6 easy steps and ANSWER THE QUESTION , you will demolish the DBQ section of the AP® US History exam. (That’s a good thing). And at the very least, you will make it out better than poor Jimmy Walker.
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Kickstart your AP® US History prep with Albert. Start your AP® exam prep today .
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4 thoughts on “how to write a new ap® us history dbq”.
This says it was updated in May of 2020, bull crap! YOu are telling students they have 15 min to read the documents and 45 to write. Thats wrong! They have a total of 45 min. on the new 2020 online DBQ. So Im telling students to spend no more than 19 min with reading the docs. Come on guys! get this updated
I meant 10 min on reading Docs.
Paul, this was written several years ago as noted by the disclaimer. For the 2020 exam, please review our new guide here: https://www.albert.io/blog/ap-us-history-review/
Thanks for the comment!
Paul, this is an article from a few years ago (note the disclaimer). The updates made to this were just images, not core content. Our 2020 AP® US History guide can be found here: https://www.albert.io/blog/ap-us-history-review/
Comments are closed.
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DBQ Essays: What Are They and How Do You Write One?
Table of contents
As a student, you’ll come across different types of essays throughout your college journey. Essays provide a great way to portray your understanding of a topic and display your writing skills .
One of the most common types of essays in college is a Document-Based Question (DBQ) essay. You’ll occasionally be asked to write these types of essays, and it’s therefore important to understand the essentials of writing them.
In this article, we’ll help you understand what DBQ essays are and the step-by-step process you can use to write the best DBQ essays in college.
What are DBQ Essays?
A Document-Based Question (DBQ) Essay is an essay in which you carefully study a specific document, analyze it, and then answer questions based on the document.
This type of essay is meant to test your understanding and analysis skills. It also tests how much you can think outside the box. They are usually part of the AP U.S. History exam.
To write a good DBQ essay, you must portray an understanding of the topic and link it to evidence from reliable sources.
Limited-Time Offer: 15% Off on an Original DBQ Essay
How to format a dbq essay.
Like any other essay, your DBQ essay should have an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Let’s review the components of each section and how to write them for the best performance.
The first paragraph of your essay is the introductory paragraph . Here, you review the historical background of the document and the main idea covered in the essay. Take five minutes to write this section, and keep it short and brief. Include a brief statement that summarizes the points you are going to discuss in the essay body.
2. Thesis statement
The final paragraph of the introduction should be your thesis statement. A thesis is a concise statement or a claim that summarizes your overall argument. Identify the claims you’ll make in your paper, which shall be backed by evidence.
Your thesis should be one to two sentences long, describing your opinion or stand on the idea under discussion.
3. Body paragraph 1
After the thesis stamen, start writing the first paragraph of your essay. Here, you identify the strongest argument that links to the thesis statement, then provide supporting details from your evidence sources. Start with a topic sentence to let the reader know what this paragraph is about.
After the topic sentence, discuss your argument and cite each piece of evidence that supports every argument you make. Analyze the evidence in relation to the main idea rather than merely quoting it. Use direct quotes sparingly if you have to.
4. Body Paragraph 2
In the second paragraph, you identify the second relevant argument and link it to the thesis statement. The argument in this paragraph should be less superior to the first paragraph but still relevant to the main idea.
Make a logical connection between your second argument and the relevant sources of evidence. Remember to cite the evidence appropriately and demonstrate that you’ve understood what they mean and not just what they say.
5. Body Paragraph 3
In the third paragraph, identify your third relevant argument, and like the other arguments, link it to the thesis statement. State your argument in the topic sentence and explain it in subsequent sentences citing the evidence.
Your argument in this paragraph can be inferior to the ones in the first and second paragraphs but relevant to the thesis statement.
6. Concluding paragraph
After discussing all your argumentative points in the essay body, it’s time to conclude your DBQ essay. Weave your arguments together in a conclusion paragraph , which links back to your thesis statement and shows you’ve sufficiently proven your claims.
Summarize the main points in the essay and let the reader see that you’ve adequately responded to the essay prompt. Don’t use this section to merely rephrase the introduction and your thesis statement. Instead, provide a conclusive analysis that reconnects the historical context to the main idea and your arguments.
How to Write a DBQ Essay in 9 Steps
So, how do you write a DBE essay so that it flows effortlessly and satisfactorily answers the essay prompt? Here are the steps you need to follow to write the best essay for your AP History exams.
1. Read and understand
Start by carefully reading the essay prompt and the provided document, word by word and understand the concept. Take the first 15 minutes of your time to review the prompt. Understand the document and develop your argument.
Identify all the key points and write them down as draft notes. As you analyze the main document, figure out how it relates to the other sources provided.
2. Identify the main idea
Once you’ve reviewed and understood the document, identify the main idea and note the keywords in the essay prompt. The keywords will help you understand what you need to accomplish in your assay and the type of evidence to look for in the provided sources.
For instance, the essay prompt may ask you to:
- Compare and contrast
Also, take note of common keywords like ‘Social, Political, or Economic.’ Always keep the prompt in mind while writing to avoid being irrelevant and losing points. The prompts will also help you develop your arguments based on the main idea of the document.
3. Gather evidence
Now that you know the main idea, pick out the sources of evidence that support the main idea. Identify how each source relates to your essay prompt and categorize them based on the prompt.
Figure out how each source can support an argument. For instance, if you're comparing the attitudes towards women's rights in different historical times, you can categorize your sources of evidence based on the contrasting ideologies they represent.
4. Find external sources
When writing your DBQ essay, you’ll also need to cite other external sources that support the ideas in the main document.
Identify at least one external source that's relevant to your claims and use the events in the document to support your arguments in the essay. Jot it down somewhere so you can refer to it later when you start writing.
5. Identify the writer’s point of view
As you analyze your document and prepare to start writing, identify the author’s point of view concerning the main idea.
Who influenced them to write the document and what did they intend to achieve with it? How do they feel and what’s their take on the documented events? Also, identify their intended audience and how his writing might have influenced them.
6. Write your thesis statement
Now that you have the main idea and your sources of evidence, it’s time to develop your argument and put it down as a thesis statement.
Review the essay prompt again and form your own perspective or opinion that responds to the prompt without simply restating it. Remember the claim you make should be specific and supported by your sources of evidence.
For instance, when writing a DBQ essay about The Effects of World War II on Women's Rights, your thesis statement can be:
“ The selfless efforts of women in World War II promoted their human rights and empowered them to a higher social status in the society. ”
Here’s a useful video by Heimler's History on writing DBQ essays.
7. Polish your thesis statement
Re-read your thesis statement and polish it to ensure it’s clear and concise. Delete any unnecessary words that do not impact the meaning of the statement.
A good thesis statement has no fluff and responds directly to the essay prompt without being too short or too long.
8. Start writing by creating an outline
Once you’ve encapsulated your arguments into a thesis statement, it’s time to start writing. You start writing by creating an outline of your arguments first.
An effective outline should include:
- The introduction
- Thesis statement
- First argument
- Second argument
- Third argument
After creating the outline, explain your arguments and fill in the evidence while citing the sources.
Creating an outline will help you organize your points and make your work easier when you start writing the main essay. Following the outline will also save you time and help you finish writing your essay on time.
9. Proofread and polish
After you finish writing, spare 10 minutes to proofread and correct any spelling or grammatical errors. Identify and rewrite weird sentence structures, add missing words, and replace those that complicate meaning.
While proofreading, delete fluffy sentences that don’t add value to your essay. Also, check that you’ve appropriately cited the evidence sources and that your essay is well structured before submitting it.
DBQ essays will significantly contribute to your final grade. It’s, therefore, necessary to take time to learn how to write an excellent one and practice before the final exams.
Remember your DBQ essay test will be timed, and that doesn’t leave you much time to include fluff. Go directly to your points and explain them in clear and concise sentences.
If you’ve been having trouble writing these types of essays , use the tips in this article to make it hassle-free onwards.
Need more help? Writers Per Hour is here to assist you with this writing assignment of yours. Our professional writers can help you research, outline, write, revise and proofread high-quality DBQ essays that are sure to give your grades a boost.
Last edit at Jul 27 2023
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How to Write a DBQ Essay
Last Updated: September 23, 2023 Fact Checked
This article was co-authored by Emily Listmann, MA . Emily Listmann is a private tutor in San Carlos, California. She has worked as a Social Studies Teacher, Curriculum Coordinator, and an SAT Prep Teacher. She received her MA in Education from the Stanford Graduate School of Education in 2014. There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 666,910 times.
In the past, Document Based Questions (DBQ) were rarely found outside of AP history exams. However, they’re now used in social studies classes across grade levels, so you’re bound to take a DBQ test at some point.  X Research source Going into the test, you will need strong background knowledge of the time periods and geographical areas on which you will be tested. Your documents will always relate back directly to the major subjects and themes of your class. The key to success is to analyze the provided documents and use them to support an argument in response to the essay prompt. While DBQ tests are rigorous, they allow you to actually do historical work instead of merely memorize facts. Don’t stress, put on your historian hat, and start investigating!
Analyzing the Documents
- For an AP exam, you’ll then have 45 minutes to write your essay. Exact times may vary for other exams and assignments but, for all DBQ essays, document analysis is the first step.
- For an AP exam, you will also need to include a thesis, set the prompt’s historical context, use 6 documents to support an argument, describe 1 piece of outside evidence, and discuss the point of view or context of at least 3 of the sources. Label these elements as you review and outline so you don’t forget something.
- A prompt might ask you to analyze or explain the causes of a historical development, such as, “Explain how the Progressive Movement gained social, political, and cultural influence from the 1890s to the 1920s in the United States.”
- You might need to use primary sources to compare and contrast differing attitudes or points of view toward a concept, policy, or event, such as, “Compare and contrast the differing attitudes towards women’s rights in the United States from 1890 to 1920.”
- Keywords in these examples inform you how to read your sources. For instance, to compare and contrast differing attitudes, you’ll need to identify your sources’ authors, categorize their points of view, and figure out how attitudes changed over the specified period of time.
- Suppose one of the documents is a suffragette’s diary entry. Passages in the entry that detail her advocacy for the Women’s Rights Movement are evidence of her point of view. In contrast, another document is newspaper article written around the same time that opposes suffrage.
- A diary entry might not have an intended audience but, for documents such as letters, pamphlets, and newspaper articles, you’ll need to identify the author’s likely readers.
- Most of your sources will probably be written documents, but you’ll likely encounter political cartoons, photographs, maps, or graphs. The U.S. Library of Congress offers a helpful guide to reading specific primary source categories at https://www.loc.gov/teachers/usingprimarysources/guides.html .
- Suppose you have a letter sent from one suffragette to another about the methods used to obtain the right to vote. This document may help you infer how attitudes vary among the movement’s supporters.
- A newspaper article depicting suffragettes as unpatriotic women who would sabotage World War I for the United States helps you understand the opposing attitude.
- Perhaps other sources include a 1917 editorial on the harsh treatment of imprisoned suffragists and an article on major political endorsements for women’s suffrage. From these, you’d infer that 1917 marked a pivotal year, and that the role women played on the home front during World War I would lead to broader support for suffrage.
- For instance, perhaps you read that the National American Woman Suffrage association (NAWSA) made a strategic shift in 1916 from focusing on state-by-state suffrage to prioritizing a constitutional amendment. Mentioning this switch to a more aggressive strategy supports your claim that the stage was set for a 1917 turning point in popular support for women’s suffrage.
- When you think of outside evidence during the planning stages, jot it down so you can refer to it when you write your essay. A good spot could be in the margin of a document that relates to the outside information.
Developing an Argument
- For example, after reviewing the documents related to women’s suffrage, identify the opposing attitudes, how they differed, and how they changed over time.
- Your rough argument at this stage could be, “Those in opposition saw suffragettes as unpatriotic and unfeminine. Attitudes within the suffrage movement were divided between conservative and confrontational elements. By the end of World War I, changing perceptions of the role of women contributed to growing popular support for suffrage.”
- Suppose your DBQ is, “How did World War I affect attitudes toward women’s suffrage in the United States?” A strong tentative thesis would be, “The roles women played in the workforce and in support of the war effort contributed to growing popular support for the suffrage movement.”
- A weak thesis would be, “World War I affected how Americans perceived women’s suffrage.” This simply restates the prompt.
- For example, under numeral I., write, “New Woman: perceptions shift in the 1890s.” This section will explain the 1890s concept of the New Woman, which rejected traditional characterizations of women as dependent and fragile. You’ll argue that this, in part, set the stage for shifting attitudes during and following World War I.
- You can start your planning your essay during the reading portion of the test. If necessary, take around 5 minutes out of the writing portion to finish outlining your argument.
- For instance, under “I. New Woman: perceptions shift in the 1890s,” write “(Doc 1),” which is a pamphlet praising women who ride bicycles, which was seen as “unladylike” at the time.
- Beneath that line, write “(Doc 2),” which is an article that defends the traditional view that women should remain in the household. You’ll use this document to explain the opposing views that set the context for suffrage debates in the 1900s and 1910s.
- Suppose your tentative thesis is, “The roles women played in the workforce and in support of the war effort contributed to growing popular support for the suffrage movement.” You decide that “contributed” isn’t strong enough, and swap it out for “led” to emphasize causation.
Drafting Your Essay
- If you have 45 minutes to write, take about 5 minutes to make an outline. If you have an introduction, 3 main points that cite 6 documents, and a conclusion, plan on spending 7 minutes or less on each of these 5 sections. That will leave you 5 minutes to proofread or to serve as a buffer in case you need more time.
- Check the time periodically as you write to ensure you’re staying on target.
- To set the context, you might write, “The Progressive Era, which spanned roughly from 1890 to 1920, was a time of political, economic, and cultural reform in the United States. A central movement of the era, the Women’s Rights Movement gained momentum as perceptions of the role of women dramatically shifted.”
- If you’d prefer to get straight to the point, feel free to start your introduction with your thesis, then set the context.
- A timed DBQ essay test doesn’t leave you much time to write a long introduction, so get straight to analyzing the documents rather than spell out a long, detailed intro.
- Each body section should have a topic sentence to let the reader know you’re transitioning to a new piece of evidence. For example, start the first section with, “The 1890s saw shifts in perception that set the stage for the major advances in women’s suffrage during and following World War I.”
- Be sure to cite your documents to support each part of your argument. Include direct quotes sparingly, if at all, and prioritize analysis of a source over merely quoting it.
- Whenever you mention a document or information within a document, add parentheses and the number of the document at the end of the sentence, like this: “Women who were not suffragettes but still supported the movement wrote letters discussing their desire to help (Document 2).”
- For example, a private diary entry from 1916 dismissing suffrage as morally corrupt isn’t necessarily a reflection of broader public opinion. There's more to consider than just its content, or what it says.
- Suppose a more reliable document, such as a major newspaper article on the 1916 Democratic and Republican national conventions, details the growing political and public support for women’s suffrage. You’d use this source to show that the diary entry conveys an attitude that was becoming less popular.
- In your essay on World War I and women’s suffrage, you could summarize your argument, then mention that the war similarly impacted women’s voting rights on an international scale.
Revising Your Draft
- If you’re taking an AP history exam or other timed test, minor errors are acceptable as long as they don't affect your argument. Spelling mistakes, for instance, won’t result in a loss of points if the scorer can still understand the word, such as “sufrage” instead of “suffrage.”
- A clear thesis statement.
- Set the prompt’s broader historical context.
- Support your argument using 6 of the 7 included documents.
- Identify and explain 1 piece of historical evidence other than the included documents.
- Describe 3 of the documents’ points of view, purposes, audiences, or context.
- Demonstrate a complex understanding of the topic, such as by discussing causation, change, continuity, or connections to other historical periods.
- As with spelling and grammar, minor errors are acceptable as long as the scorer knows what you mean. Little spelling mistakes are fine, but you’ll lose points if you write that a source supports suffrage when it doesn’t.
- Remember that you shouldn't just identify or summarize a document. Explain why a source is important, and tie each reference into your argument. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- If you’re taking an AP history exam, find exam rubrics, practice tests, and other resources at https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/courses . Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- Taking a timed test can be tough, so time yourself when you take practice tests. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
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- ↑ http://www.gpb.org/blogs/education-matters/2016/10/14/getting-started-document-based-questions
- ↑ https://sourceessay.com/tips-to-write-an-impressive-dbq-essay/
- ↑ https://libguides.jcu.edu.au/writing/writing1
- ↑ https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/pdf/ap-us-history-dbq-2018.pdf?course=ap-united-states-history
- ↑ https://history.rutgers.edu/component/content/article/52/106-writing-historical-essays-a-guide-for-undergraduates
- ↑ https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/pdf/ap-us-history-course-and-exam-description.pdf
- ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/editing-and-proofreading/
About This Article
Document-Based Questions, or DBQ essays, are often used in social studies classes to test your ability to do historical work rather than simply memorize facts. Start by spending some time reviewing the documents and developing an argument. Pay special attention to keywords in the prompt that will help you construct your argument. For example, if the prompt includes the words "compare and contrast," you'll need to include 2 different viewpoints in your essay and compare them. Then, as you read your sources, note the authors, points of view, and other key details that will help you figure out how to use the documents. Once you’ve reviewed all of the material, come up with your response. Sketch out a tentative thesis that encapsulates your argument and make an outline for your essay. You can then draft your essay, starting with an introduction that gives context and states your thesis, followed by supporting body paragraphs. To learn how to write a conclusion for your DBQ, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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