Menu

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

Pre-bucketing

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 Library

“I appreciate that this is an inquiry model of instruction that provides opportunities for students to read complex texts, exercise critical thinking, and write to communicate their thinking. The scaffolds in the process with the "buckets" and the "chicken foot" assist both students AND the teacher through the inquiry process. Additionally, our DBQ Project trainer is the best! In the training she paused often to allow for questions about the process.”

– Kathy Wolfley, K-12 Social Studies Coordinator, Vancouver City Schools (retired)