Data-Based Questions

The purpose of this page is to draw together examples of relevant ‘Data-Based Questions’ that students will encounter in Section B of the exam and to provide handouts that offer some guidance on how to approach this area. This section is worth 150 Marks (or 30% of a student’s final grade) but is one of the most difficult parts of the course to teach as it currently stands because of the lack of “Past Papers” to give students a sense of how this particular question should be approached. Yes, obviously, students should be getting practice gathering and analyzing data themselves throughout the two years of study, but that only gets them so far when it comes to sitting the exam. I’ll be adding more sample questions as time goes on. (I add them in both .pdf and .doc format so that teachers can adjust the documents or questions as they see fit and and to help with work that might have to be digitally submitted this year.)

Sample Question 1 – Election Integrity and Electoral Commission

Election Integrity and Electoral Commission DBQ (pdf)

Election Integrity and Electoral Commission DBQ (MS Word)

Sample Question 2 – Migration 

BBC/CSO Migration DBQ (pdf)

BBC/CSO Migration DBQ (MS Word)

It goes without saying that any teachers who have produced DBQs that they think are of a high standard are more than free to send me on a few for inclusion here!

As I always remind my own students, “Any DBQ that you do, automatically becomes a CASE STUDY for you to refer to in future”. So the goals of the documents that I produce will be two-fold. Firstly, they should enhance the learning in specific areas that are directly relevant to the course content/subject specification. Secondly, they aim to familiarize students with the kinds of questions that have been asked thus far. These seem to range from questions that focus directly on ‘comprehension’ of the key content and arguments, to reliability and methodology, presentation of written and visual data, bias in authorship, and comparative views of the two documents. But bear in mind that we only have two past exams and an SEC sample paper to go on, so this will (by definition) be an imperfect set of sample questions. I’m forever telling students that they should look at the ‘N’ number (sample size) in any data they gather and so I should heed my own advice and not make any extravagant claims about anything I produce based on the ‘trends’ that I’ve tried to infer. Seeing the ‘backup’ paper in November 2020 that students were supposed to have sat in June will undoubtedly help with improving the relevance of future sample DBQs!

The following handouts might help students in their responses:

Intro to Data, Communication, and Social Action

DBQ Question (g) – 50 Mark Question – Suggested Approach

DBQ Question (f) – 50 Mark Question – Suggested Approach (*** the marking scheme for the 50 Mark Question shifted between the first and second year of examination. I include the old format of my suggested approach for comparative purposes.)

The final problem with this process is that it takes A VERY LONG TIME to put these samples together. Each one of the samples took me about 3 ½ – 4 hours and there may still be a few typos. I have gotten a little bit of practice putting these together for the DEB Mock Papers, but even still, it’s a very labour-intensive process. Even more frustratingly, the sample answers become dated (if not obsolete) relatively quickly and there’s absolutely no way I’ll be able to go back and update them, so you’ll have to take them as they come! As always, if you have any (constructive) criticisms of this sample paper and/or suggestions on how to improve them, then please do get in contact. I’m always eager to improve.

Given that you don’t have to buy ‘Sample Papers’ now, if you felt like making a small contribution to the running of the site, I’d appreciate a donation here: Contact and Support