Sunday, October 26, 2014

Build your own DBQ for students

By request, here is the build your own DBQ assignment I created for my History of the Middle East class last year.  

Mongols and the Middle East
Creating a DBQ

Purposes:   1.  To gain a better understanding of how historians gather information and use it to make arguments.  2.  To understand the impact that the Mongol conquest had on parts of the Middle East.  3.  To develop research and citation skills.

Overview:  You will create a DBQ that would allow students to answer the question:  “How did the Mongols change (or not change) the Middle East politically, economically, socially, religiously etc.”  This is a type of essay known as a CCOT which stands for continuity and change over time. 

Your DBQ should have
·      at least 6 and no more than 8 documents.
·      at least one document must be a chart or graph
·      at least one document must be a visual image of artwork or material culture (an object). 

For each document you will provide: 
·      a citation of where you found the document as well as the original source if applicable. 
·      A short paragraph that explains why you included the document. Whose voice is represented?  Who is the audience? What does the document show?  How could it be used as evidence

Other parameters:
·      At least one document needs to show continuity.
·      At least one document needs to show change. 

Rubric:  Proper citation for the (documents further rubric to follow) 20 points
Documents and paragraphs.  80 points (further rubric to follow). 

Research sources:  Check the library Haiku page for electronic databases for starting places (ABC-CLIO, Gale World History). 

Day 1.  HW:  Overview readings on the Il-Khanate using ABC-CLIO, Gale, Wikipedia and other encyclopedias. 
Day 2.   HW:  Identify main themes for continuity and change
Day 3.  HW:  Identify a range of documents 10-15
Day 4:  HW:  Settle on 6-8 documents start paragraphs.
Day 5  HW:  Finish paragraphs.
Day 6 HW:  Proofread paragraphs.  Make sure each document is labeled with author (if known), title, date authored, name, where the document first appeared (if known).
Day 7:  HW:  Bibliography of where you found sources.  Everything ready to hand in.  

One of the interesting things about the assignment is that documents were really hard to source.  They found lots of quotes and documents in teacher created sources but it was often hard to track down the original source.  Each section of the class ended up pooling their resources and then choosing from the pool to build their DBQs.  For material objects and art, we primarily used the Metropolitan Museum of Art which has a great website.   The project was very successful and when students did DBQs later in the year they were very successful at them. 


  1. Document based question. And geez, are you reading the whole blog in one go?