What Is a DBQ World History?

If you’re a student of world history, you may have come across the term ‘DBQ’ quite often. But what does it mean exactly? Let’s dive into it.

What is a DBQ World History?

DBQ stands for Document-Based Question. It is a type of essay that requires students to analyze and interpret historical documents to answer a specific question or prompt. In other words, students are presented with a set of primary and secondary sources related to a particular event or topic in history and are asked to use these sources to develop an argument or thesis.

Why is the DBQ important?

The DBQ is an essential part of world history education as it helps students develop critical thinking skills, research skills, and historical analysis skills. It requires students to analyze multiple perspectives on an issue, weigh the evidence provided, and construct an argument based on their analysis.

How to approach a DBQ?

Approaching a DBQ can be overwhelming at first, but breaking it down into manageable steps can make it easier.

Step 1: Understand the Prompt
The first step is to read and understand the prompt carefully. Make sure you know what the question is asking you to do and what time period or events are relevant.

Step 2: Analyze the Documents
Next, carefully read through each document provided. Take notes on the author’s perspective, tone, and bias if any. Identify any patterns or themes that emerge from the documents and think about how they relate to the prompt.

Note: Make sure you take note of who wrote each document because that’s going to be important later!

Step 3: Develop your Thesis
Using your analysis of the documents, develop your thesis statement – this should be your answer to the prompt in one sentence. Your thesis should be clear and concise and should address all parts of the prompt.

Step 4: Outline your Essay
Before you start writing, create an outline for your essay. This will help you organize your thoughts and ensure that you include all the necessary components of a well-written essay.

Step 5: Write your Essay
Using your outline, start writing your essay. Be sure to cite specific examples from the documents to support your thesis. Remember to analyze each document’s author, purpose, and audience in relation to the prompt.


DBQs are an essential part of world history education. They help students develop critical skills needed for success in higher education and beyond. By following these steps, you can approach a DBQ with confidence and produce a well-structured essay that showcases your historical analysis skills.