How to Dominate a DBQ

1. Deconstruct the Question: Do What?
You need to answer the question asked. There is no sense in writing an essay if it does not address the question asked.


2. Evaluate the Documents:
Identify if the document is a primary or secondary source
Scan for Vocabulary: Define any unknown words.

A. Text H.A.P.P.Y.

H- Historical Context
What is going on during the time period of the document? What are the immediate historical events that shaped/triggered this docment?

A- Audience
For whom (specifically, generally, logically) was the document intended?

P- Point of View (Detecting Bias)
Who (specifically, generally, logically) wrote/produced the document?
Is there a reference to the author's POV (i.e. his/her professional, racial, gender, social background) in the document bi-line? If not, can you infer it?
What details in the document reflect the author's POV?

P- Purpose (Writing in the Margins) (Informative, Persuasive, Entertain)
Why was the document created? What does the author want to accomplish?
What elements in the document help you determine its purpose?
How does the author's POV shape the document's purpose AND/OR how does the format of the document shape its purpose? (e.g. Is a visual/photo more emotional than an essay?)

Why is this document significant? How does this document address the question asked?
How does the document reflect 'continuity or change over time'?
What are the limitations of the document? (Is the document credible?)

B. Picture Evaluation: P.I.C.T.U.R.E.

Time Period
Underlying Message (What is the author's claim?)
Remember outside information
Everything Matters (How can you use this document to answer the question asked?)

C.Document Analysis Worksheet


3. Group your Documents
Is there a common theme in the document packet? How are your documents related?


4. Create a Thesis Statement
Now that you have deconstructed the question and have evaluated your documents, you must develop a thesis statement. In order to make an argument, you need to create a well written thesis statement. Your thesis statement should be two sentences.

1. Clearly state your position. Example: The Green Bay Packers are the best team in the NFL.
2. The second sentence of your thesis statement is called the Roadmap as it gives you the opportunity to show the structure of your essay. Your roadmap must address the opposing point of view and then introduce the arguments you will be making in your essay. Example:

Although the New England Patriots have won their last three games (1), the Green Bay Packers are the best team in the NFL due to having the best record in the NFC (2) and the most experienced running backs (3).

The roadmap provides the structure for the rest of your essay. The first body paragraph will address the opposing point of view Patriots being the best team in the NFL), the second body paragraph will argue the Packers are the best team due to their record in the NFC, and the third body paragraph will argue that the Packers are the best team in the NFL due to having the most experienced running backs.


5. Persuasive Essay Outline**

How to Integrate a Source

How to Integrate a Source Workshop Activity

Exemplar Model Essays
FDR and the New Deal

Was Andrew Carnegie a Hero?

What Caused the Civil War?