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How to write a DBQ Essay. DBQ Document Based Question. Thesis Statements .

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how to write a dbq essay
How to write a DBQ Essay
  • DBQ
    • Document Based Question
thesis statements
Thesis Statements
  • Although it can be argued that the political motivations eventually made the split between Henry/Luther and the Church irreconcilable, both initially left for personal reasons, such as legal disputes for Luther and the lack of a male heir for Henry.

Despite the fact that Henry left because of greedy self-interest, he and Luther both had political reasons for leaving the Church.


Foundation of a good thesis statement?

    • A good thesis statement…
      • …answers the question
      • …is supported by evidence
      • …is precise
      • …previews broad points of your argument
      • …is arguable (in other words, it isn’t simply a statement of fact)
progression of thesis statement 1
Progression of Thesis Statement #1
  • The North and South fought the Civil War for many reasons, some of which were the same and some different.

While both sides fought the Civil War over the issue of tariffs, the North fought for moral reasons while the South fought to preserve its own institutions.


While both Northerners and Southerners believed they fought against tyranny and oppression, Northerners focused on preserving the Union while Southerners defended their own rights to property and self-government.

progression of thesis statement 2
Progression of Thesis Statement #2
  • Martin Luther didn’t like Catholic Church practices including simony, nepotism, and the selling of indulgences.

Despite political pressure that contributed to later conflict, the core cause of the Reformation included heavily criticized practices of the Catholic Church including simony, nepotism, and the selling of indulgences.


Introductory Paragraph

    • 4-6 Sentences
    • Establish
      • Time & Place
    • Thesis Statement
      • Clear
      • Bold your thesis statement
        • Underline in handwritten essays
    • Allude to
      • Subtopics
    • Focus on the question

The Middle Paragraphs

    • 8-12 sentences per paragraph
    • Identify subtopic in the first sentence
      • Hand written essays
        • Leave a space between each topical paragraph
    • Include documents that are relevant to support your ideas in the paragraph
    • Use the documents given
      • 70%
    • Indicate
      • Point of View (POV)
        • Write (POV) in handwritten essays
      • Bias
    • Use supportive outside information
    • Why were these documents selected?


    • Names
      • Erasmus
    • Dates
      • October 31,
    • Terms
    • Events
    • Places
    • Movements
      • Humanism
questions to ask yourself about the documents
Questions to Ask Yourself About the Documents
  • Attribution
    • Who is this person?
  • Why might they be significant?
  • What is the point of view of the author?
  • How reliable and accurate is the source?
  • What is the tone or intent of the author?
  • What other information does this document call to mind?
  • Use all available clues
demonstrating pov bias
Demonstrating POV/Bias
  • Attribution
    • Cite the author by
      • Name
      • Title
      • Position
    • Why is this person and document selected?
    • How does it help me answer the question?


    • John Tyler, an English writer said, “…
    • A Dominican Monk in Florence described…

Authorial Point of View

    • Show awareness that aspects of the author could influence their views.
      • Gender
      • Occupation
      • Social class
      • Nationality
      • Political position
    • How does this apply to the question?
    • Why has the author written what they have?


    • BalthasarRusow, a Lutheran pastor, was naturally upset by the celebration of a Saint’s Day, since Lutherans don’t venerate saints.

Reliability and accuracy of each source referenced

    • You examine a source for its reliability and accuracy by questioning if the author of the document would be in a position to be accurate.
    • How might this help you answer your question?


    • Niccolo Machiavelli’s book on the political tactics of a Renaissance prince was probably accurate as he observed the behavior of the prince, Cesare Borgia, for many years.

Tone or Intent of the Author

    • You examine the text of a document to determine its tone (satire, irony, indirect commentary, etc.) or the intent of the author. Especially useful for visual documents, like art work or political cartoons.


    • In his great sculpture of “David,” Michelangelo wanted to convey the confidence, and even arrogance, of Renaissance Florence at the peak of its cultural influence in 16 Century Europe.

Grouping Documents by author:

    • You show an awareness that certain types of authors, simply by their authorship, will express similar views when you group documents by type of author.


    • As Northern Renaissance humanists, Erasmus, Sir Thomas More, and Cervantes all poked fun at the foibles and scandals of late medieval society as well as of their own.
how to reference a document in your essay
How to Reference a Document in Your Essay
  • Baldassare Castiglione, in The Handbook of the Courtier, said: “………………….”
  • Erasmus of Rotterdam, a northern Christian humanist, agreed with…
  • The 19th century historian, Jacob Burkhardt, felt that …………………. (Doc. 9)
  • NEVER begin with: In Document 3, …..
concluding paragraph
Concluding Paragraph
  • Conclusion
    • 3-4 Sentences
    • Start with a concluding phrase
    • Restate your thesis in a different way
    • Put your essay answer in a larger historical perspective.
      • End of some trend/movement/idea, etc.
      • Beginning of some trend/movement/idea, etc.
      • End of one & beginning of another.
      • Do NOT end on the note that this is the reason we are where we are today!