Teacher Institute

Document-Based Questions for Teaching & Learning

Dr. Shelley Rose


Document-Based Questions (DBQ) test students’ ability to think historically using documentary evidence. This module is designed to help you will create a DBQ based on primary sources from the “Right to Vote” Teacher Institute. You should also consider how your question addresses the four historical thinking skills outlined in the AP course description. They are:

  1. Crafting Historical Arguments from Historical Evidence
  2. Chronological Reasoning
  3. Comparison and Contextualization
  4. Historical Interpretation and Synthesis

Compare the AP skills to Stanford History Education Group’s Historical Thinking Chart.


Each instructor or group of instructors may create a DBQ in the platform of their choice on a topic related to suffrage.


  • Seneca Falls Convention
  • 14th Amendment
  • 15th Amendment
  • 19th Amendment
  • 24th Amendment
  • Voting Rights Act of 1965
  • Voting rights in the 20th century
  • Voting Rights in the 19th Century
  • Suffrage Movements / Activism
  • Citizenship vs Voting Rights
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Voting Laws
    • Literacy requirements
    • Property requirements
  • Rise of Political Parties


For the final project, educators can use Google Sites with original DBQs and engage with a range of supporting primary documents. Refer to the Resources and Political Cartoons sections in this textbook for primary sources you can use in your DBQ. You may find it useful to use Google Documents to link your primary sources to the subpage or embed them directly. The purpose of your DBQ is teach historical thinking, but the format can be as multimodal as you want.

Consider this sample DBQ from the 2019 AP US History Exam APUSH 2019 DBQ



College Board, AP US History

Stanford History Education Group

Her Hat Was In The Ring

Slides from the Right to Vote Institute

Suffrage Institute Historical Thinking


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