Writing the DBQ The purpose of the DBQ (Document Based Question) is not to test your knowledge of the subject, but rather to evaluate your ability to practice the historian's craft. You will be required to work with the documents and use them to answer a question. Writing the DBQ is an acquired skill, one that takes practice. You should not get discouraged if you do not "get it" right away. The goal is to acquire the skill by May. Remember that there is actually no right or wrong answer. Your answer is YOUR interpretation of the content of the documents. As long as your answer is logical and your interpretation is supported by the content of the document you are correct. The following is your guide to writing a successful DBQ.
HISTORICAL CONCERNS 1. Read carefully the question prompt and the historical background. Underline the tasks demanded and the terms which are unique to the question. 2. Read the documents carefully. a. Make sure that you understand the content of the document. b. What is the author's Point of View (POV). c. Where is the tension? 1. Are there people from the same place with differing POV? 2. Is a Frenchman critiquing the French or is it an Englishman? Which is biased, which has great knowledge? d. What is the origin of the document? e. Is the document valid or is it hearsay? f. If time, gender or age were changed would the person be saying the same thing? 3. You should strive to use most of the document (omitting no more than 1 or two). 4. Do not simply site the documents in "laundry list" fashion. You should strive to IMPOSE order on the documents. Find groupings for the documents. Can they be organized into a format? What is the OVERALL picture presented by the documents. Can you use the documents implicitly? 5. Your essay should be an ANALYSIS of the documents and their content.You are demonstrating analysis if you are doing the following: a. The essay contains a thesis which divides your answer into categories. b. The documents are used as evidence to support your thesis. c. Frequent reference is made to the terms of the question. Be certain that your answer is always focused directly on the question. Do not drift afield. 6. Be certain that, if the question allows, you exploit all of the following in writing your answer. a. Point of View (POV) is both indicated and discussed from several angles. b. The Validity (VAL) of documents is noted. c. Change Over Time (COT) is recognized and discussed (if this occurs in the documents) d. Did the pendulum of history swing in the chronological course of the documents? Did it swing back again?
LITERARY CONCERNS 1. The essay has an adequate introduction in which the time frame is noted. 2. The thesis provides an answer to the question and divides the answer into categories. 3. Proper essay style is used (think 5 paragraph format where applicable). 4. Grammar and spelling are adequate (do not misspell words that are supplied in the documents). 5. You have not referred to yourself in the essay and you have not told the readers what they are "going to learn". 6. A great majority of the documents have been used in a manner which makes their use readily apparent to the reader. 7. Quotations are limited to a phrase which is placed within the context of your answer. 8. ALL PARTS OF THE QUESTION have been answered. 9. A conclusion exists which summarizes the evidence, restates the thesis and indicates a direction for further study or occurrences. 10. Base all of your comments on the documents, NOT on outside information. Outside information may be used to enhance understanding but it must not be the basis of your argument.
Scoring a DBQ The European History Development Committee strongly urges teachers to ensure that students are familiar with and capable of meeting the following requirements: This is what you have to do to get 6 points of 9 points on the DBQ. If you do not get these six, you can not get a 7,8, or 9.
BASIC CORE 1-6 Student may earn up to 6 points for mastery of these items. 1 Provides an appropriate, explicitly stated, thesis that directly addresses all parts of the question. Thesis may not simply restate the question. 2 Discusses a majority of the documents individually and specifically. 3 Demonstrates understanding of the basic meaning of a majority of the documents (may misinterpret no more than one). 4 Supports the thesis with appropriate interpretations of a majority of the documents. 5 Analyzes point of view or bias in at least three documents. 6 Analyzes documents by explicitly organizing them in at least three appropriate groups. The student will earn one point for successfully completing each of the above tasks. The student must earn all six points in order to advance to the Expanded Core. Failure to earn a total of 6 points in the Basic Core with leave student with a score reflective of the number of tasks which were successfully accomplished.
Expanded Core Must earn 6 points in the basic core before earning points in the expanded core. A student earns points to the degree to which he or she does some or all of the following. Student may earn 1, 2 or 3 points for successfully demonstrating any, all or some of the following points. has a clear, analytical and comprehensive thesis uses all or almost all documents addresses all parts of the question throughly uses documents persuasively as evidence shows understanding of nuances in the documents analyzes bias or point of view in at least four documents cited in the essay analyzes the documents in additional ways-- additonal groupings or other. brings in relevant "outside" historical content
TOTAL POSSIBLE SCORE IS 9 Points earned in the expanded core, coupled with those earned in the basic score will equal the total score of the student. Note: a student may earn six points in the basic core and does not necessarily have to earn any additional points in the expanded care. This said, a 6 may stay a 6.
DBQ Training Excercise SITUATION DESCRIPTION: The annual Ely Tigers versus Dillard Panthers football game was played Friday night. Due to family commitments I was unable to attend the game. The game was decided when Donnell Wilson caught a touchdown pass on the last play of the 4th quarter giving Ely a 14-10 victory. Monday morning when I arrived at school "everyone" was talking about the "catch" and the victory. What I want to know is what REALLY happened and just how great of a play this catch actually was. Throughout the day I spoke to the following people in an attempt to obtain the truth. As I review each source I must constantly ask myself "what is the validity of each person's comment and what is their particular expertise in the area of high school football.
DOCUMENT 1 Tom Robard, Newspaper Reporter, The Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel The annual Ely--Dillard football game ended in dramatic fashion when Donnell Wilson caught the game winning touchdown pass as time expired. Wilson made a leaping catch and landed safely in the endzone capping an improbable come from behind win for the Tigers. (note: most high school game results are phoned into the newspaper sports desk)
Document 2 Donnell Wilson, Ely Wide Receiver who caught the winning pass Did you see that catch?! I mean it was great! Man I knew I had it! That D-back was nothing! I ran right by him and just reached out and pulled it in. Focus, real focus!! We're number 1!!
Document 3 Clayton Sheffield, Offensive Coach, Ely High School Great catch! Unbelieveable! Donnell has heart and no quit in him. When it mattered I knew he would come through. He's tough, a real gamer! I had the team focused. We were ready to play. Never a doubt!
Document 4 Jasmine McNeil, Ely Cheerleader Captain It was a totally awesome catch! We won the game and, like totally disgraced that other team. I knew we would win after our half-time show, and we did! We rock! Go Ely! Those Dillard guys had no chance. And you should have seen those Dillard girls! Their cheers were sloppy and screechy. No wonder we won!!! We're number 1!!
Document 5 Mary Griffin, Ely teacher who attended the game to watch her son play Ely played real hard. The boys were great. It was a great catch that won a hard fought game. The noise in the stands after the game was unbelieveable. Everyone was hugging each other and screaming.
Document 6 Demetrius Johnson, Defensive back who covered Donnell, Dillard High School We were robbed. That guy never caught the ball, he was lying there on the ground and the ball fell in his hands. He pushed me and the ref never saw nothing. Ely is nothing but a bunch of cheats!
Document 7 Mark Burton, Defensive Coach, Dillard High School What can I say? Demetrius played him real tight. Ely ended up on the ground with the ball and the touchdown. Some nights you just aren't lucky, some you are.
Document 8 Owen Dyson, Football Referee, excerpt from his game report to the Florida High School Activities Association It was a clean and simple catch resulting in a touchdown. No penalty was invloved.
Document 9 Robert Benson, Assistant Football Coach, University of Nebraska. Excerpt from his scouting report. #83 Donnell Wilson, Senior. Position: Wide Receiver. Height: 5'6". Weight: 155. Comment: Has poor hands and only average speed.
DBQ Time In Groups of 3 do the following Look at the Reformation DBQ you just did (trade papers with each other) Look at the scoring guide Would you have got your 6 points. Why or why not? Make notes for the author to use to fix it.