The DBQ Project Method™
The DBQ Project 6-Step Method underpins the design of all our DBQs and Mini-Qs. Each step builds on students’ curiosity and increases motivation and confidence to answer a compelling, authentic question.
Step 1: The Hook Exercise
Engages students and orients them to the question.
Step 2: The Background Essay
Further orients students to the question and provides essential context that helps make sense of the documents.
Step 3: Understanding the Question and
Helps students plan so they can target their investigation of the documents. Clarifying the question motivates students to start reading their sources to find answers.
Step 4: Analyzing the Documents
It’s like you’re a detective! The documents provide clues and evidence students need to support their thesis or claim. They provide the knowledge and information students need to answer the question.
Step 5: Bucketing
Helps students get organized. Buckets become containers for evidence that students use to categorize or group evidence from the documents.
Step 6A: The Thrash-Out and Preparing to Write
Students prepare to write by debating or “thrashing-out” their answer to the question. Students practice using evidence from the documents to support and verbally validate their claims. They use what they learn to outline their essays.
Step 6B: Writing the Essay
Students write multi-paragraph, evidence-based essays using their documents, buckets, and outlines to support and explain their reasoning.
The DBQ Project Method provides a framework of best practices that guides teachers and students to read smart, think straight, and write clearly.
How do you teach a DBQ?
It is much easier to assign a DBQ than to teach one. Using document-based questions as a method of instruction rather than just an exam is at the heart of DBQ’s philosophy.
To master high-level skills, students need high-level instruction.
“The DBQ project is clearly aligned with best practice. The materials support teachers in implementing the Common Core as well as engage students in interesting social studies content. The trainings provide teachers with strategies that are relevant when implementing a single DBQ project, but there are many best practice strategies that also can be used independent of the project.”
– Scotland Nash, Seattle Public School Instructional Specialist, Seattle, WA