DBQ Tips

Developing a Thesis
Question: Which labels for the Middle Ages best describe the era between
500 and 1400 in Europe: The Dark Ages, the Age of Feudalism, the Age
Faith, or the Golden Age of Europe? You must discuss three labels.
After you analyze the sources provided, what conclusion can you
make about which label best describes the Middle Ages?
Search for facts in each document. Pay attention to who the authors of
each document are. Are they reliable sources?
Look for common trends or information. Is there overwhelming
evidence that supports one aspect over another?
Find ways to dismiss or downplay opposing viewpoints.
Make sure your thesis answers the question and attempts to prove
Develop a Thesis
Take some time to write a thesis of your own!
The Middle Ages occurred after the Fall of Rome and became a Dark
Age of disorder and chaos.
The Middle Ages should be labeled as the Age of Feudalism because
this decentralized system dominated and influenced the political,
economic and social aspects of Western Europe.
The Middle Ages began as a Dark Age but should be known as the Age
of Faith due to the dominating power and influence of the Roman
Catholic Church.
The Middle Ages has a reputation for being a time of disorder and
ignorance, however, it should be known as a golden age for its major
achievements in art and architecture.
Life during the Middle Ages is proof that even during times of violence
and destruction, humans will do all they can to learn and preserve
knowledge and new ideas. Therefore, it should be labeled as a Golden
Missing Voice Document
After you analyze the sources provided, what additional document/s
would you need to help prove your thesis about this situation!
A commoner
A diary entrance to understand what influenced their
lives the most. What was most important to them
and why? Probably, their daily lives were consumed
with work and dominated by Church law. There was
probably not much time for education and recreation.
A chart depicting
the amount of lives
lost during the
Barbaric invasions
This would help prove the massive extent to which
civilization was destroyed by the Germanic
invasions. It would interesting to compare these
numbers to the losses of the Eastern Empire which
was able to retain their centralized government.
A passage from a
book or a drawing
that depicts the
intellectual work of
the monks in the
This document may provide evidence of the
preservation of Greco-Roman ideas, the illumination
of the Bible, or perhaps evidence of bee keeping,
beer making, or medical studies.
DBQ Essay Structure
Introduction and Thesis statement
Body Paragraph #1
Topic sentence – First subtopic grouping
Group Documents to prove your thesis
Analyze documents (Don’t just summarize) Why did author say what
they said? How does each document prove a point? Why are these
sources reliable?
Body paragraph #2
Transition sentence – second subtopic grouping
Group Documents to prove your thesis
Analyze documents (Don’t just summarize) Why did author say what
they said? Are these sources reliable? How can you dismiss
Remember: Include POV (point of view) analysis for at least 2 docs.
Missing documents – What documents would you need to help prove
your thesis? Should provide two!
Conclusion – restate thesis and conclusion. Try to broaden to larger

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