They also feared for their loved ones if they didn’t return (sources 2, 3, 5–pg. Loneliness: Both groups spent a lot of time away from their families and missed daily interactions (sources 1, 6). If you don’t like the list format of this outline, create a table to organize topics and sources that support your main ideas.
Boredom: Both groups were bored at some point during the war (source 3, par. Some soldiers expressed more boredom with down times than others. Others wanted to be in combat to not only have something to do but also achieve their mission. Opinions on war: No clear correlation between soldiers who were for or against the war effort. Note that the outline above also includes ideas about how to make connections to the larger world.
Once you know what you’re supposed to be writing about, review the collection of documents.
Start viewing the collection of documents with a purpose.
What’s the point of scrolling through zillions of products if you’re really only looking for a chew toy for your new puppy? If the essay prompt asks you to compare soldiers’ attitudes toward the war, you can probably skip over the parts of the letters that ask about Aunt Harriet’s health or that ask if the garden is doing well this year. Instead, focus on soldiers’ comments about whether they believe in the war or their comments about the government, fellow soldiers, or those they’re fighting against.
As you locate details to include in your essay, write notes in the margins to help you remember their significance and to help you locate the information later. After all, you’ll need to incorporate all of the given documents into your paper, so you need to be able to review them relatively quickly.
What if I told you that you had to write a research paper but that you didn’t actually have to do any of the research? A document-based question (DBQ) essay is sort of like that.
You have to write an essay using a variety of sources, but someone else provides the sources for you.
These might be personal connections, connections to arts or literature, or connections to current events. It demonstrates your ability to not only use the documents provided but also see how they apply to the larger context.
(The people grading your exam will be looking for these types of connections, so make sure to include them.)You’ve written lots of different types of essays, and the DBQ essay is no different when it comes to standard essay format.