Offer a factual statement as a thesis – A factual statement might be a controlling statement, but a factual statement, by definition, can never be a thesis. For example, do not write, “France suffered a major revolution in 1789.” This statement is factual & fits the definition of a controlling statement. A thesis is always embedded with controversy & forces people to take a position. A thesis is provocative & provokes people to argue a point.
Forget to cite your documents –For example, write, “Even Louis XV was aware of the impeding disaster (Doc 2.) & the king’s observation of 1774 reveals a gloomy sense of national doom & unavoidable catastrophe.”
Cluster documents together - For example never cite documents all together, such as (Docs. 2, 5, 7, & 9.) Document clusters represent lazy scholarship & leaves the reader with the impression that you lack the desire to individually analyze & interpret each document on an individual basis.
Use direct quotes – The purpose of the DBQ is for you to take on the role of a historian. You are no longer a history student. Quoting documents word for word leaves the reader with the impression that you have no idea what you are doing. Quoting documents demonstrates no original analysis, insight or creative interpretation. Quoting documents shows the reader you have absolutely no idea what the documents means & sends the message that you either do not understand the documents or that you are too lazy to take the time to interpret the documents’ intent.
Use phrases like, “Document 17 says…” – or “it says in Document 15 that…” or “In Document 7 it says that…” In a DBQ use proper historical…