How do you recommend writing a DBQ?

For the last couple of days doing DBQ’s I haven’t been able to complete as much as I could, and I wanted to know what is the “line of execution” or steps on writing a DBQ?
Please and thank you!

I would suggest start by writing a few points about each document before anything else. This will help give you an idea of what each doc is about and will save time when using them in you essay. After that I usually group my documents by what they have in common. Doing this will help you more easily identify what docs you can use together under the main points or in a paragraph. Then I would write my thesis that answers the prompt and establishes a line of reasoning. After that it is fairly easy to write the DBQ, just use the groups of docs you have made for each paragraph with each paragraph being one of your points from your thesis. These are steps I have used in the past, and they have saved me time because I was able to go through all of the documents and plan out where I could use them in my essay and which docs compliment each other. Hopefully doing this will save you time!

I follow a general format with my students and tell them not to vary from it. Treat like a math formula.

  1. Thesis + Context Introduction + Argument 1 + Argument 2: This is your thesis statement.
    *** Example at the end.
  2. Body Paragraph 1: Argument 1 Topic sentence based on the first argument from your thesis + context justification + outside evidence.
    ** So, your topic sentence that is your first argument. You justify your context that you introduced in your thesis, do your document analysis, and include one piece of outside evidence.
  3. Body Parageraph 2: Argument 2 topic sentence based on the second argument from your thesis + outside evidence.
    ** So, your topic sentence here is your second argument. Do your document analysis, and introduce your second piece of outside evidence.

Conext Intro + Justification: In your thesis, you lightly introduce context. For example if you were writing about the French Revolution, you might say in your thesis to introduce context… “The political, economic, and social changes brought on by the French Revolution must be understood in the context of revolutions of that time in general…” **Now, to justify that and get your point, in the first body paragraph, you might go on to say. The French Revolution was but one of many revolutions upending European and global societies. The American Revolution that preceded it, and the Industrial Revolution in the midst of it were evidence of monumental change in politics, economics, and society.

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thank you!

For me, this YouTube channel really helped me last year! I found a 2020 specific WHAP DBQ guide by the same person here:, so I’d recommend you check it out!

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thank you so much!

I encourage my students to Contextualize and Thesis in Intro for +2 points, Use 2 Docs in one Body Paragraph for +2 points, HIPP BOTH documents for +2 points and then do 1 Outside Evidence for +1 point. That is 7 points in just two paragraphs using two documents. HOWEVER, if you struggle with HIPPing or Outside Evidence, then do more documents!!!

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