What Is a DBQ Paper? – The Definition of This Essay Type

July 12, 2020

Guide To Write A DBQ Essay For The Highest Grades

Actually, it is an abbreviation of the document-based question. Such a paper question is subjected to each student who does AP History exams. The assignment in this type of task will be mostly to analyze a historical-grounded issue or any kind of recent trend with the assistance of provided documents being evidence. This type of essay writing is rather unfamiliar for many students that result in panic. It is mostly attributed to by a number of documents given and a little period of time to work on it. 

Here you will be introduced with some structure, tips, topics, and examples writing your DBQ paper easily. 

DBQ paper structure

In general, the structure of the DBQ paper is like this:

  • Introduction.

Begin writing your DBQ piece of writing with a brief and concise historical context of a certain period of time you have to write about. The intro must also include the thesis statement. As soon as you generate the thesis, you should mention the topic you are planning to write about. 

  • Body paragraphs.

Writing a DBQ paper, make sure that the body paragraphs are composed in a logical way. Make sure each of the body paragraphs starts with the topic sentence that is supposed to describe the essence of the whole paragraph. Ensure that each of them sufficiently addresses the problem. In the body paragraphs, you should refer to the given documents along with their titles. Attach the analysis of them when you refer to them.

Comprehend the guidelines of various kinds of AP History DBQ papers. For instance, if you are writing an AP United States History, you should utilize many pieces of evidence. However, most of the citations must come from the given documents. For the AP European History, you will have to mostly depend on the documents provided.

Writing direct quotations, try to ensure that they are relevant in a certain context. Try to define whether the body paragraphs feature the relevant citation, which is when you utilize any document given or the outside sources, you must include in the citation. The body paragraphs must also correlate with your thesis statement. If you wish to get the highest grade for your DBQ paper, you should clearly depict the way pieces of evidence in the documents given, the opinion you have selected, and your extra document gang up to elaborate your thesis statement on.

Meaning, the outside documents must be relevant to your thesis statement. Also, make sure you demonstrate how well you comprehend the event or period you were asked to do.

  • Conclusion.

It is one of the most crucial parts of your DBQ piece of writing. You should restate the thesis here and provide a short summary of the things that were explained by you in the main body.    

Tips on composing a DBQ paper

Before you write your DBQ paper, take your time to get prepared. It is impossible to just jump writing before adequate preparation of the things you plan to put in your essay.

Take these necessary things into consideration in the fifteen minutes you are provided with for preparation.     

Read the prompt carefully. 

When you are doing this, you would better:

  • Comprehend the question.
  • Define keywords like economic and cultural issues, society, and time period.
  • Define the pieces of evidence that you will have to take from the documents.
  • Try to think out of the box.

Forget thinking about the documents. Try to collect data about the certain question you were provided. This includes data about the theme, the period of time, or the society in a specific question. Perfectly, it is what you are planning to write in the DBQ piece of academic writing while using the given documents being the pieces of evidence. Think about every single thing you have learned in your class about a certain topic in question. List all relevant outside data to assist you when you begin to write.

  • Identify your stand

When you finish reading the prompt, you will get several ideas. Pick up the one with an outstanding perspective which you are planning to adopt in your paper.

  • Develop a thesis statement that is temporary

When you are reading the prompt, produce the temporary thesis statement that would guide you in terms of the way of using the supporting documents.

  • Review the documents

You are planning to be suggested with several certain historical documents. You should take some time to have a look at them, trying to define the most important idea of every document. Also, determine the way they relate to the prompt and the way these documents relate to the temporary thesis statement. When you are doing this, make the notes of every document. Ensure you make a note of the chronology. Try to analyze the main changes.

  • Put the documents into logical categories

Going through every document, you should categorize them, depending on the way they will assist you in answering the prompt’s question. For example, you may define the documents which you should compare & contrast. 

  • State the author’s opinion

Keep in mind that you should back up your thesis statement with the documents you were provided with. So, you should clearly comprehend the various certain authors and their own opinions. When glancing over the docs, you should try to identify the author, their opinion, and the reason which is behind this opinion. It should be reflected in the piece of writing.

  • Develop specific groups

Your paper must depict an ideal comprehension of various docs that you were given with. You should cluster them, and it must mirror, at least, 2 times in your paper. When you create the groups, make sure they correlate with your thesis statement. The groups you generate must be able to demonstrate the various sides of your claim. 

  • Additional documents

Keep in mind that you should utilize the extra documents apart from the one you were given. Ensure the documents are relevant to the DBQ question provided.

  • Master your thesis

As long as you own more data about a certain question, you will have to go back to the thesis and master it to cover the question explicitly. Make sure it is clear & concise. 

DBQ essay topics:

  1. Explain the main reasons why the new conservatism has risen to prominence in the USA from 1960 to 1989.
  2. Explain the main causes of the women’s rights movement rise in the time period of 1940-1975.
  3. Compare & contrast the various attitudes towards women’s rights in the USA between 1890 and 1920. 
  4. 2016 – DBQ: Gender & politics in Latin America.
  5. 2015 – DBQ: Responses to the spread of influenza after WWI.
  6. 2014 – DBQ: Relationship between the peasants and CCP.
  7. 2012 – DBQ: Relationship between cricket and politics. 
  8. 2011 – DBQ: the Green Revolution.
  9. 2008 – DBQ: Contemporary Olympic movement.
  10. 2005 – DBQ: Nationalism in Muslim Countries. 

DBQ essay example:

Topic: What was the reason for the Civil War?

           “With the adoption of the USA in 1789, the new nation got to know how to tackle different types of interpersonal conflicts via compromises. With the flow of time, things modified. The dilemmas between the South and the North changed into one more war on the USA’s contemporary territory. Political, economic, and social gaps were the main factors. After 1861 there were the darkest times of the country. 

           So what is the main cause of the Civil war? Despite other social and political problems, the main reason for the Civil War was slavery that was based on racial discrimination…”


With this guide, you will easily learn how to write a DBQ paper. Also, you might use the handy tips. You should manage your time properly to get the best result. If you follow our pieces of advice, you will get the highest grade and get to know how to write the DBQ paper in the best way. It is also important to learn the rules of DBQ formatting. The more you practice, the better it will be for your examination. On the other hand, you cannot do more than you are gifted for. Therefore, if you feel you do not have a talent for writing, you would rather ask someone else with this talent already present to generate a DBQ paper for you. 

What do I have to do if I do not have a talent for writing?

First of all, no way you should feel you are less worthy than others. Some people are born to be engineers, while others are very good at writing. It is not a humiliating thing to ask a person who has a gift for writing to assist you. 

For instance, you might use our paper writing service to cope with your DBQ essay. It is much more convenient to pay someone for doing the routine you can’t stand. Don’t hesitate to contact us now. We will set you free with our help! 

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