How to Write a DBQ
The abbreviation DBQ translates to Document Based Questions. These are the questions that provide context (in other words document) that serve as your source of information which you will need for your writing. All DBQs have a similar structure where three things are always given. These include:
1. Historical context – This is the paragraph provided containing the background information for the topic you will need to write about. The information here will help you come up with an introduction for your essay.
2. Task – This is the question that you are supposed to answer. Understanding the question will help you come up with a thesis for your essay.
3. Documents and scaffolding questions – There are five to seven documents provided to help you write the essay. Within these documents, there are approximately three questions you will need to answer for you to be able to formulate a well-developed and thought out essay.
Steps to follow when writing a DBQ
Step 1: Read through the historical context
By reading through this context, you will be able to answer four questions about the DBQ. These are the who, what, where, and when. By answering these questions, you will have the basic information needed to respond to the question
Step 2: Read the task
Although the two usually follow each other, it is important to answer the questions in step one before moving on to read the task. Once you are done with that, you can read the task which is usually instructions on what you are supposed to with the information you have already read. This is also the step that helps you come up with a thesis of your essay. It is important to know that a thesis is the most important part of your assignment as it gives a direction to your reader on the goal of your essay.
Step 3: Read the documents provided and answer the scaffolding questions.
This is probably the most important step. Therefore, you'll need to take your time at this stage. Read through the documents and answer the questions. Make sure that you also note key points and the source of the information before you move on to the next step.
Step 4: Write an outline for your essay.
Writing an outline is important as it helps you organize your thoughts. An outline helps you categorize your discussion points in order of importance. This is from the strongest points as you go down to your weakest. On outline, therefore, helps you with the flow of your essay such that you don't get stuck in the middle of your essay.
Step 5: Write your essay
Now that you have all that you need to develop a fully formed essay, you can get down to writing. If you follow the outline you already developed, you will be able to complete your essay within no time.
Step 6: Proofread your essay.
After you're done writing the essay, you will need to go back and reread your essay. This will help you spot any grammatical errors you will have made and correct them.
Key Takeaway Points
For you to be able to produce a great DBQ, learn how to write an effective thesis, develop time management skills for essay writing, and learn how to cite because you will need these skills. Finally, DBQs are common in history tests, practice working on these assignments before walking into an exam room. You will be able to master all these skills and so much more, which will give you all the confidence you need to handle similar cases.
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