Fort Stanton Historic Site

Document Based Question (DBQ)

Use the link below to download this DBQ:


What is a DBQ anyway?

  • A DBQ, or Document Based Question, teaches middle school and high school students a series of steps to help them learn how to use primary source documents to write a persuasuve essay.  DBQs are becoming standard on Advanced Placement exams and the Collegiate Learning Assessment.
  • DBQs combine critical thinking, history, and English-writing skills, giving students experience in organizing a quantity of research and information into a cohesive, persuasive, and structurally sound essay.  
  • DBQs rely on actual historical documents and information, allowing students to think critically about a historical situation or character and analyze events in their time.  DBQs are thought to reduce textbook and teaching bias, since students are examining primary and secondary source documents for themselves, they are able to come to their own conclusions and thus become "the historian".