DBQ Essay

A DBQ essay is sort of a question-answer essay. This means that it is an academic essay where you are required to solve the questions given, and give back an answer. This essay type tests your analytical and understanding skills. You are judged by the marker of the essay who looks at how well you solved the question before awarding marks to you. Most importantly, your marker looks at your problem solving skill and coverage of the problem.

This essay type is not as difficult as people think. It is something you can write at any given opportunity and get it right if it is well-written.You have to put your mind on the question needed to be solved as you write.

Before we go on to teaching you how to write this type of essay, we are going to answer questions relating to the essay type.

What is DBQ Essay?

The full meaning of DBQ is “Document Based Question.” It is more of an academic paper than it is an essay. Here, as a student, you are demanded to write an assigned academic paper set and managed by the United States College Board. It is part of US History examination. It requires or prods your knowledge of some topics.

When writing this essay, you should do well to write it like you are writing a proper research paper. Learn how to write research paper by reading our post (How to Write Dissertation or Research Paper and How to Write APA and MLA Essay). The essay should have citations (in-text and end-text), and the sources cited should be more than 16.

As covertly stated before, this essay type is part of an exam. So, you should do well to write it well, without plagiarism, and follow the right guidelines and instructions.

How to Write DBQ Essay?

You should put your mind to it that to write this essay type is not a difficult task to undertake. You can also get this essay right and get the full marks you are supposed to get when you do it well. Read through this section of this post to understand this better:

Get the Topic: The first step you have to take is getting the topic given to you. You note and write down the topic.

Research: The next step is to make the necessary research as relating to that topic. You make the research by going online or using the libraries close to you. You make a research on the research works on relating topics, the not-related topics connected to your own topic, and the works of scholars in the field of that topic.

You have to be writing down your discoveries as you make the research. You can get a book for it or do it with tech gadgets like laptop, palmtop, phones and more. While writing down your discoveries from other works, write down the details like the exact words of the scholar, the scholar’s name, the title of the work, date published, publisher, number of the page cited, and others.

Writing: You can start writing immediately after making your research. You should know that there is usually a deadline for it. Therefore, you should endeavor to meet up with the deadline. Your work can be cancelled if you fail to meet up to the deadline.

The format you should follow for writing this essay type is:

Title: The title should be plain and be exactly or close to the topic given to you. Example is “Social Media and Plagiarism.”

Introduction: The introduction should be a few paragraphs like one to three paragraphs. It should contain the hook, thesis statement, research problem, significance of the research in the essay, and the background of the topic.

In this introduction, you should also go further in writing about your reasons for writing on the essay topic and what you intend to achieve in the essay. To make your essay unique, you can put in statement about how other scholars (you can mention them) haven’t explored the topic like you would do in the essay. The final sentences of the introduction should contain how you intend to answer the question given to you.

Body: The body can be from 3 to 10 paragraphs depending on how much you are given instructions to write. The first set of paragraphs should be elaborate the thesis statement. Bring up arguments validating the topic of the essay and why it is important you undergo that thorough research in your essay. It is important that you reiterate why the study about to go on in your essay is important.

The second set of paragraphs should be based mainly on your analysis concerning the topic. Here, you present your sources and research material you have garnered exploring or connected to the topic. This is the most important part of this essay because it is where brings up the fact whether your essay is well-done and well-researched.

The third set of paragraphs begins to solidify the argument and proclamations you have made so far concerning the topic. Here, only little argument additions are made. The focus here should be reiterating all the point that have been stated. You should endeavor not to do excessive repetition of words, phrases, clauses, and sentences.

Conclusion: The conclusion of this essay should be one to three paragraphs. Here, you make a brief summary of what you have stated in the essay. It is vital you include the main points of the essay. You also mention how you have been able to tackle the essay question asked. Finally, you wrap it up with a statement connecting to the topic.

The References or Work Cited: This should be the last part of the essay. Here you state the works you cited. You should note that you must have done in-text citation throughout the work. The end-text citation comes after the conclusion. There are different citation types for different fields. Do well to know that of yours and know how to write it.

Proofreading and Editing: After writing the essay, the next step to take is proofreading and editing. You should do well to make sure you proofread the essay properly and edit. You should do this more than once. You can proofread and edit as many times as possible. The more you do this, the less error in your essay.

Finally, your essay should appear in good English, proper capitalization, proper punctuation, proper use of tenses, and many more.


DBQ essay is not hard to write if you know the right steps and guidelines to follow to write it, you will definitely get it right. You should do well to write in the best form you can write it. Follow the right and necessary guidelines. A very well-written essay will do well in terms of marking.

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