A dbq is like a tasty hamburger… The introductory paragraph…



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How to do an AP Euro DBQ

  • I made a rhyme…. 

A DBQ is like a tasty hamburger…

The introductory paragraph…

  • The “top bun” of your essay….
  • 4-6 sentences

The introductory paragraph…

  • Establish a TIME & PLACE
  • Create a clear THESIS STATEMENT
  • Allude to the SUB-TOPICS or categories you will discuss to support your thesis statement
    • No “laundry list”
  • Focus on the question at hand—do NOT begin with a “flowery” sentence!

The “meat” paragraphs…

The “meat” paragraphs…

  • Identify your sub-topic or category in the first sentence
  • Include the documents that are relevant to support the ideas in the paragraph
  • Use a majority of the documents given
    • (1/2 + 1)
  • Be sure to indicate point-of-view/bias
  • Bring in supporting outside information
  • Why were these documents selected?

Questions to ask yourself about the documents….

  • Attribution who is this person?
  • Why might he/she be significant?
  • What is the POV of the author? (more than gender)
  • How reliable & accurate is the source?
  • What is the tone or intent of the author?
  • What other information does this document call to mind?
  • DOCUMENTS CAN BE USED IN A VARIETY OF WAYS….

Demonstrating POV/Bias…

  • Attribution: cite the author by name, title, or position, if possible
    • Why is this person and document selected?
    • How does it help me answer the question?
  • Examples:
    • John Tyler, an English writer, said, “…”
    • A Dominican monk in Florence described…

Demonstrating POV/Bias…

  • Authorial POV: you show awareness that the gender, occupation, class, religion, nationality, political position or ethnic identity of the author could influence his/her views
    • How does this apply to the question?
    • Why did the author write what he/she did?
  • Example:
    • Balthasar Rusow, a Lutheran pastor, was naturally upset by the celebration of a Saint’s Day, since Lutheran don’t venerate saints.

Demonstrating POV/Bias…

  • Reliability & accuracy of each source referenced: you examine a source for its reliability & accuracy by questioning if the author of the document would be in a position to be accurate
    • How might this help you answer the question?
  • Example
    • 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.

Demonstrating POV/Bias…

  • 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. Useful for visual documents (artwork/political cartoons)
  • Example
    • 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 16th Century Europe.

Demonstrating POV/Bias…

  • Grouping of 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
  • Example
    • As Northern Renaissance humanists, Erasmus, More, and Cervantes all poked fun at the foibles and scandals of late medieval society as well as their own.
  • *the quality or function of an author

How to reference a document in your essay….

  • Baldasare Castiglione, in The Handbook of the Courtier, said, “…….” (doc 4)
  • Erasmus of Rotterdam, a northern Christian humanist, agreed with….. (doc 7)
  • The 19thC historian, Jacob Burkhardt, felt that ……… (doc 9)
  • NEVER begin with: In document 3, …..

The concluding paragraph…

The concluding paragraph…

  • Start with a “concluding phrase”
  • Restate your thesis statement a bit differently
  • Put your essay 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!!!!

Put it all together and….

You have written a top-notch AP DBQ essay!!!! How ‘bout some practice??

Thanks to Ms. Susan Pojer Horace Greeley HS Chappaqua, NY



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