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Strategies for Writing the

Civil War DBQ Research


Paper

What is a Document-Based
question?
A Document-Based Question (DBQ)
requires students to write an essay in
which the defense of the thesis
comes from an analysis of
original source documents as
well as outside knowledge of a
specific time period and topic

To Feel Comfortable
Answering a DBQ
Analyze Documents on a Routine
Basis
Analyze documents using AP
PARTS

A
P
P
A
R
T
S

Author
Who created the document?
Does the author have a viewpoint that affects the
meaning of the document?
Place and Time
Where and when was the document created?
Does the place and time affect the meaning of the
document?
Prior Knowledge
What do you know beyond the information provided in
the document?
Audience
For whom was the document created?
Does the intended audience affect the documents
reliability?
Reason
Why was the document produced at the time it was
produced?
The Main Idea
What is the document about?
What point is the document trying to convey?
Significance
So what? How does the document relate to the topic you
are studying?
Why is the document important?

Writing the DBQ: A FiveStep Process


Step 1: Read the question and make
sure you understand all parts of the
question
Sample DBQ: To what extent did the
idea of equality, as stated in the
Declaration of
Independence, bring about the Civil
War in 1861?

Step 2: Read and analyze each


document using AP PARTS.
Remember to list outside information
as you analyze the documents

Step 3: Make an assertion. Remember


to answer the question.
Sample Assertion: Although some
may argue that economic differences
led to the Civil War, the war was
caused primarily by political
disagreements over the nature of
equality.

Step 4: Test your assertion and


prepare your essay using the Yes/But
strategy.

Rubric for Document-Based


Question (thesis)
13-15
a.______ Well-developed thesis that addresses
the question
b.______ Considerable specific and relevant
outside information to support the thesis
c.______ Effective analysis of a substantial
number of documents
d.______ Organized and well-written
e.______ May contain minor errors that do not
detract from the overall quality of the essay

Thesis Rubric
9-15
a.______ Acceptable thesis
b.______ Some specific and relevant outside
information to support the thesis
c.______ Effective analysis of some of the
documents
d.______ Acceptable organization and writing
e.______ May contain some errors that do
not seriously detract from the quality of
the essay

Thesis Rubric
5-8
a.______ Thesis is nonexistent, confused, or
unfocused
b.______ Little specific or relevant outside
information
c.______ Little or no analysis of the
documents
d.______ Problems in organization and writing
that detract from the quality of the essay
e.______ Contains major errors that detract
from the quality of the essay

04
______ Incompetent or inappropriate
______ Little or no factual information;
substantial factual errors
______ Completely off topic

Information to Help You


Write Better DBQs
1. DBQ essays with no outside
information or no analysis of the
documents will receive a low score.
A thorough analysis of the documents
with an adequate thesis and no
outside information will generally
receive a low grade as well. Students
who add some outside information
will generally receive a high grade

Information to Help You


Write Better DBQs
2. Students who make Yes/But
statements will probably drive
their scores into a higher range.
3. Students should make sure they
stay in the time period required
by the question

Information to Help You


Write Better DBQs
4. Students should avoid quoting long
passages from the documents; this
leaves little time for analysis of the
documents.
5. Simply restating what a document
is about is not enough. Students
should make sure they analyze the
documents and make inferences from
the documents

6. Making an inference from a document


can count as outside information.
7. Although student scores will not be hurt
by referring to documents in
parentheses with the letter of the
document (e.g., Document A), we
should hold students to a higher
standard and ask that they refer to
documents within the text
(e.g., According to the Census
Report of 1890 . . . or As evident in
John Kennedys Address to Congress in
1961 . . .).

Information to Help You


Write Better DBQs
9. Students should use specific
names, terms, and events (i.e.,
proper nouns) as outside
information.
10. Students should make sure
they keep returning to the main
topic of the essay

11. Use the introductory paragraph


to define terms, provide
historical background, define the
time period, and state points of
validation. In most cases, students
should not write an introduction that
is too long; introductory information
should be kept to a minimum.
12. Errors in grammar and style are not
a serious problem unless they detract
from the comprehension of the essay

APA STYLE
Parenthetical references should be included
immediately after the quotation marks used
in direct quotations or immediately after the
use of the source, even if these means
including the parenthetical reference in the
middle of the sentence. The following is the
general form for parenthetical citations in
APA style:
Parenthetical Citation: (Author
Last Name, Year of Publication)
Example: (Smith,
1988)

APA STYLE
Page numbers are not required in APA intext citation. However, it is highly
suggested that these be included. To
include references to a specific part of
the text, add the page number or
chapter number after the year.
Examples: Smith (1988, p.
244) has written that... or Smith
(1988, chap. 5) has written that...

APA STYLE
When no date is given for the
publication of a text (as is the case
with many websites), include the
abbreviation "n.d." in place of
the year of publication.

PRIMARY SOURCES: must


include 1
Letters, diaries or journals
(Personal thoughts)
First-hand newspaper reports
Research data and surveys

SECONDARY SOURCES
Secondary sources interpret or
critique primary sources. They
often include an analysis of the event
that was discussed or featured in the
primary source.

SECONDARY SOURCES:
must include 1
Textbooks
Essays or reviews
Articles that analyze or discuss ideas
and events
MAKE SURE YOU CITE EVERYTHING

Bibliography Page
Your list of works cited should begin at the end of the paper on
a new page with the centered title, References.
Alphabetize the entries in your list by the author's last name,
using the letter-by-letter system (ignore spaces and other
punctuation.) Only the initials of the first and middle names are
given.
For dates, spell out the names of months in the text of your
paper, but abbreviate them in the list of works cited, except for
May, June, and July. Use either the day-month-year style (22
July 1999) or the month-day-year style (July 22, 1999) and be
consistent. With the month-day-year style, be sure to add a
comma after the year unless another punctuation mark goes
there.

http://www.citationmachine.net/

MUST HAVE TITLE PAGE,


DATE, CLASS PERIOD,
AND TEACHERS CLASS
EXAMPLE: The Civil War DBQ Writing Project
5/18/2015
4th Period
Ms. Tyson

MAKE SURE U INCLUDE


Make sure you include the:
WHAT: Topic/subject
HOW: what evidence will you use
to prove this statement
WHY: Your opinion/why is it
important