An essay has been defined in a variety of ways. One definition is a "prose composition with a focused subject of discussion" or a "long, systematic discourse". Aldous Huxleya leading essayist, gives guidance on the subject. Furthermore, Huxley argues that "essays belong to a literary species whose extreme variability can be studied most effectively within a three-poled frame of reference".
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. Read carefully the question prompt and the historical background. Underline the tasks demanded and the terms which are unique to the question. Read the documents carefully.
Make sure that you understand the content of the document. Where is the tension? Are there people from the same place with differing POV? Is a Frenchman critiquing the French or is it an Englishman? Which is biased, which has great knowledge? What is the origin of the document?
Is the document valid or is it hearsay? If time, gender or age were changed would the person be saying the same thing? You should strive to use most of the document omitting no more than 1 or two. Do not simply site the documents in "laundry list" fashion.
Find groupings for the documents. Can they be organized into a format? Can you use the documents implicitly?
You are demonstrating analysis if you are doing the following: The essay contains a thesis which divides your answer into categories.
The documents are used as evidence to support your thesis.
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. Be certain that, if the question allows, you exploit all of the following in writing your answer. Point of View POV is both indicated and discussed from several angles. The Validity VAL of documents is noted. Did the pendulum of history swing in the chronological course of the documents?
Did it swing back again? The essay has an adequate introduction in which the time frame is noted. The thesis provides an answer to the question and divides the answer into categories. Proper essay style is used think 5 paragraph format where applicable. Grammar and spelling are adequate do not misspell words that are supplied in the documents.
You have not referred to yourself in the essay and you have not told the readers what they are "going to learn". A great majority of the documents have been used in a manner which makes their use readily apparent to the reader.Selection File type icon File name Description Size Revision Time User.
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The Document Based Question (DBQ) essay is a key feature of the APUSH exam. And at 25% of your total score, it’s an important feature! Keep reading and you will get some great tips on how to write a DBQ for the APUSH exam.
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