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STEPS TO A GREAT DBQ!!!!

1. Understanding the Question


a. Read the prompt and understand what it is asking you to do and what HTS its asking you to use.
b. The number one mistake made is failing to answer all parts of the question asked.
2. Document Analysis
a. CAPFLAC
3. Grouping (Buckets)
a. The groups you make must support your thesis and make sense logically. The two or three groups must
make sense and present two or more sides to your argument. A single document may fit into more than
one category. Use all the documents.
4. Thesis Development (Mama Thesis)
a. Develop a thesis statement that sets out your position in regards to the prompt.
b. Have an explicit thesis that directly answers ALL parts of the question and is not a rewording of it.
c. For Good/Bad thesis see the bottom of this document.
5. Paragraph Topic Sentences (Baby Thesis)
a. Create topic sentences from the three groupings you have made.
b. The baby thesis MUST be related to the mama thesis.
6. Introduction
a. Remember: Although X, Y because ABC. (You can move the variables around)
i. X represents the document that best provides a counter-argument.
ii. Y represents your thesis statement.
iii. ABC represents your 3 main points that you are making.
b. See Formulas for the Big Four HTS to apply this formula.
7. Body Paragraphs
a. Each body paragraph will focus on a category or theme and contain your explanation (defending your
thesis) with specific, historical evidence relevant to your topic. Use the documents to support your thesis.
b. You will include document analysis. One letter from CAPFLAC that best helps your argument.
c. You MUST use outside evidence independent from the documents. It is expected most of your answer
will come from your own knowledge. The documents are there to provide evidence and examples, not to
be your main information source.
d. You will also need to extend your argument and analysis by illustrating contradictions, corroborations,
and/or qualifications.
e. Use the information in each document to support your topic sentence (baby thesis).
f. Cite your documents parenthetically. (Doc. #). Do not cite by saying In document one.. While
technically not wrong it is not the ideal.
g. Be focused on defending your thesis and do not stray.
8. Conclusion
a. Your concluding paragraph should NOT simply restate your thesis. You want to conclude with higher
level analysis; however your conclusion does not need to be extensive. For your essays in this class, your
conclusions will have three requirements.
b. Formula: Therefore, Y + BC. BC is similar/different to OC, because E.
i. First: Restating your thesis with broad context
1. Therefore, Y + BC.(one sentence).
2. BC - Broad Context what is the big picture within the era you are writing about
ii. Second: Synthesis(similar in kind but in a different time) One sentence connecting and
comparing.
iii. OC= Other Context what other time period experienced a similar or different big
picture/theme?
c. Third:
i. E= explanation (at least one strong piece of evidence to support your comparison)

ii. Explanation One sentence explaining how your theme/topic is similar or different than that
same theme/topic in a different era.
Formulas for the BIG FOUR HTS: Although X, Y because ABC.
The formula is essentially the same for any type of question, and you can move the variables around. Below you will find
some different ways to use it depending on what type of question you are answering.
1. Historical Causation:
What are the major causes or consequences of event and what were the most important causes or
consequences of event?
o X = Although statement.least important cause or consequence, with an explanation why;
explained thoroughly with a piece of specific evidence.
o Y = your assertion statement (mama thesis).
o A, B, C = most important causes / consequences, explanations why, broken up into organizational
categories
2. Continuity and Change over Time:
What are the major patterns of continuity or change over the time period and was there more continuity or
change over that time period?
o X = Although statement.continuity or change, your counter-argument explained thoroughly with
a piece of specific evidence.
o Y = your assertion statement (mama thesis).
o A, B, C = continuity or change during the specified time period, broken up into logical
organizational categories.
3. Compare and Contrast:
What similarities and differences are there between the two things, are there more similarities or
differences, and why, account for those similarities or differences?
o X = Although statementmore similar or different, your counter-argument explained thoroughly
with a piece of specific evidence.
o Y = your assertion statement (mama thesis).
o A, B, C = similarities or differences between the two things, broken up into logical
organizational categories
4. Periodization (or Take a Position)
Evaluate whether something was a turning point or a major marking period in history, noting what things
were like before and after that period.
o X = Although statement.counter argument, why something was or was not a turning point
explained thoroughly with a piece of specific evidence.
o Y = your assertion statement (mama thesis).
o A, B, C = argument, why something was a turning point broken up into logical organizational
categories
STRONG/WEAK THESIS STATEMENTS
WEAK THESIS: Although westward migration maintained continuity, it fostered change to a greater extent because of
changes in politics, economics, and geography.
STRONG THESIS: Although westward migration in the later 19th century propagated the spirit of manifest destiny and
white dominance which was consistent with westward expansion in the early 19th century with things like the addition of
new states in the Louisiana Territory and the Trail of Tears, the movement westward in the latter half of the 19th century
fostered change to a greater extent than it maintained continuity. Change came economically with new technology,
resources, and labor, politically with new, western political organizations and agendas, and geographically with dramatic
changes to the environment