The DBQ is not about teaching content, nor is it about finding the "right" answer. It's about giving students the knowledge and skill to construct an argument after questioning and analyzing sources. I don't want the DBQ to become a research essay, nor should it be a content dump where the document citations serve as nothing more than window dressing. This is neither its purpose not its potential.
An overview of my unit two plan for AP World. It is structured around a trade route map project with multiple opportunities for content acquisition and skill practice. At the end of the unit students write their first complete DBQ essay.
A lesson intended as a thoughtful example of putting skills first. It involves some interesting primary sources on the pre-Columbian Americas and an emphasis on source analysis, argumentation, and contextualization.
When students are making historical arguments they need tools that help them think through vast quantities of content quickly and provide a scaffold for complexity. I like to use two different activities that introduce two "Frameworks for Analysis" to help them do this, one for causes and one for effects.
Teaching both content and skill is a constant challenge, especially in AP World History. Rethinking old lesson plans helped me come up with a new plan for teaching Topic 1.1 that introduced causation, argumentation, and thesis writing. It worked well.