Regents Prep: Global History: Exam Overview
DBQ Essay

 
 DBQ Essay Overview

To successfully write a DBQ essay response, one must focus on the task. Each of the task items must be addressed in the written essay response in order to receive full credit.

A generic scoring rubric is provided which explains how the DBQ essay response will be graded. The maximum possible score is a five; the lowest possible score is a zero.

To earn the maximum score possible, consider the following steps for writing a DBQ essay response:

1. Pre-Writing
2. Introduction
3. Body Paragraphs
4. Conclusion


Exam Sections

Multiple-Choice

Thematic Essay
Short Answer
DBQ Essay

Pre-Writing

Before actually writing the DBQ essay, one should analyze the task and organize the information that they wish to include in the essay response. The scoring rubric should also be read to ensure that the essay response meets all of the requirements necessary to earn the maximum score of five.

First, carefully read the historical context and the task. Look for clues that will help identify which historical era(s) the DBQ is focusing on, and the information required to thoroughly address the task. Underline those sections of the historical context and task that you consider most important.

Next, draw a table or box that can be used to organize information and help in writing the essay response. Clearly label the one column heading “Document(s) Used” and the other column heading “Outside Information” and reserve the row headings for the task items.

For example, in the sample DBQ from the June 2001 Global History and Government Regents Examination below:

Creating a box-format or table outline can be used to organize an essay response to the sample DBQ. Click on the image below to see what it might look like when filled in

For example:


Writing the Introduction

The introduction to the essay response should communicate what it is that the essay will show or prove. The DBQ generic scoring rubric states that to earn a five, the essay, “Introduces the theme or problem by establishing a framework that is beyond a simple restatement of the Task or Historical Context and concludes with a summation of the theme or problem.”

For example, in the sample DBQ from the June 2001 Global History and Geography Regents Examination below:

A suitable introduction for this sample DBQ appears below:

Industrialization began in the 1700s in Great Britain. Since that time, a variety of environmental problems have been documented throughout the world. Both developed and developing nations are now attempting to implement a variety of solutions in order to preserve Earth’s delicate environment.

This introduction is based partly on the historical context, but also declares what will be proven by the essay response. Each element of the task is addressed with specific information which will later be elaborated upon in the body paragraphs.

Filling in the pre-writing table prior to writing the actual essay response has provided a wealth of information to use in the introduction.

NOTE: One should not simply copy the historical context or task; this is not a suitable introduction and will result in a lower overall essay score.


Writing the Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs need to thoroughly address all elements of the task by utilizing information from at least four documents from Part A, incorporating outside information, and presenting everything in an organized manner.

This is where the completion of a pre-writing table really pays off! If constructed and filled in properly, this table will form the basis of organizing the body paragraphs of the DBQ essay response. For example:

The colors above highlight the information about two different foreign policies to be utilized in the essay response. One approach to writing this essay would be to compose two body paragraphs that discusses environmental problems and two additional body paragraphs explaining how nations are responding to these problems.

Note that at least four documents are used in these body paragraphs. Each time a document is used, it is highlighted in yellow. Documents are also identified by name as well as document number.

In addition to these documents, a great deal of outside information is included in order to thoroughly address all aspects of the task. Each time outside information is used, it appears highlighted in green.

For example:

In the 200 years since the Industrial Revolution began, the environment has been significantly altered as more nations industrialize and increase their manufacturing capacity to meet consumer demands. For example in 1997 according to World Watch, carbon dioxide emissions in developed nations reached three tons per person, while developing nations produced half a ton per person (Document 2). These emissions can produce smog in concentrated areas, such as Mexico City, one of the most polluted cities in the world. Carbon dioxide can also form acid rain which can affect areas far removed from the source of the pollution. For example, pollution from areas of the United States has been carried into southeastern Canada causing acid rain which is detrimental to ecosystems and drinking water. Carbon dioxide has also been linked to global warming which can affect global weather patterns. Again, polluting nations can have an effect on other nations as shown in the political cartoon labeled “Nature’s Equation” which illustrates that the devestation caused by Hurricane Mitch can be attributed to global warming, most likely caused by nations other than Honduras (Document 4).

The modern development of nuclear energy has also had an impact on the environment. In the 1980s, a Soviet nuclear power-generating facility in Chernobyl had a meltdown. The prevailing winds swept the nuclear fallout across all of western Europe causing great concern for the health of the people in those nations.

The nations and corporations of the world have recognized the detrimental effects of pollution caused by industrialization, and are taking steps to address it. According to newspaper reports published by World Watch in 1997, British Petroleum announced that it should increase its investments in solar energy as an alternative to dependence upon oil. Denmark has also investigated alternative energy sources by using wind power and the combustion of agricultural waste (Document 5). Greenpeace, an international environmental and conservation organization, has pioneered the use of Greenfreeze as an alternative to traditional refrigerants. In 1997 Greenpeace disclosed at an environmental meeting in Montreal, Canada, that Greenfreeze has proven to be ozone- and climate-safe, and is being readied for use by factories in India, Russia, and many other countries (Document 7, Selection 1). Recycling efforts have also increased in many nations, reducing the need for new consumable items, thereby decreasing pollution.

The global use of the automobile has also caused a dramatic increase in environmental pollution. Newspaper reports published in World Watch state that the Japanese auto company Toyota has developed a hybrid gasoline electric car that is more fuel efficient and produced half the amount of carbon dioxide as a conventional car (Document 5). In the 1970s, the United States mandated the use of catalytic converters for automotive exhaust systems, and other nations are now following suit. These converters, when used in conjunction with other emissions-control devices, limit the amount of pollution produced by a vehicle.

The table above formed the basis for the content included in these body paragraphs. It has allowed the writer to visualize the flow of the essay before committing to a single paragraph to paper. The facts in the table were embellished with details designed to thoroughly address all aspects of the task.


Writing the Conclusion

The conclusion to the essay response should communicate what it is that the essay will show or prove. The DBQ generic scoring rubric states that to earn a five, the essay, “Introduces the theme or problem by establishing a framework that is beyond a simple restatement of the Task or Historical Context and concludes with a summation of the theme or problem.”

For example, in the sample DBQ from the June 2001 Global History and Geography Regents Examination below:

A suitable conclusion for this sample DBQ appears below:

Consumers demand products which stimulates factories to produce them. During this production process a variety of harmful pollutants are emitted, in addition to the pollutants created by energy-producing plants to provide the electricity that powers many consumer items. Smog, acid rain, global warming, and other easily observable forms of pollution have caused nation to seek a variety of different solutions designed to limit or eliminate the pollution caused by industrialization. As developing nations industrialize and catch up with developed ones, it is more important than ever that these solutions be adopted in order to preserve the Earth’s environment.

This conclusion borrows some material from the historical context, and also repeats what was first stated in the introduction and proven in the body paragraphs. It also connects the policies discussed with the need to implement solutions as more nations become industrialized.



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