Medieval Europe and Japan

You will first be expected to analyze eight documents that deal with religious and economic influences on medieval Europe and Japan. Then you will choose at least four of these documents to discuss in your work in an attempt to defend your thesis. A thesis is an academic term used to state your claim or prove a point.

Your thesis will directly answer the question:

œIn what ways did religion and economics influence the development of medieval Europe and Japan?

Your body paragraphs will support the thesis that you have developed.

Before you complete the assessment, you will be provided with tips that will help you understand how to analyze sources and use them to respond to a prompt.

How to Analyze a Document

The following four steps will help you analyze each document like a historical detective. This skill will help you to complete your document-based-question, or DBQ, project.

Step One: What do you already know about the subject of the document?

First of all, you should find out how much you already know about the subject of a document. Jot down as many notes as you can on the topic. For example, if a document is an excerpt of the Justinian Code, you should list what you have previously learned about this code.

Step Two: What do you notice about the document?

Before answering the questions, look over each document. What do you notice about it? For example, with an excerpt of the Justinian Code, read it over and list your thoughts about the excerpt. The same approach should be used for a document that is a picture or a graphic. Think about who the intended audience was. Is there bias in the document? When was it written? Is it a primary or a secondary source? All of these questions will help you to develop a conclusion.

Step Three: Answer the document question.

The great part about a document-based-question, or DBQ, is that there is rarely a œcorrect answer. In a DBQ, you are trying to logically provide a point by using the evidence provided to you. You will be forming an educated opinion based on your analysis of the documents and what you have learned about the topic.

Step Four: How did answering the document questions help you generate ideas to respond to the prompt?

After you have answered your question, write down what you have learned. Also write down any opinions you have formed about the document that might help you write your essay.


Start the first paragraph with an opening line that catches the reader’s attention. It could be a quotation or an interesting fact about your subject. Next add a sentence or two with background information to really set the stage. This should be followed by a thesis statement, which conveys the main claim you will make in the essay. Then briefly state the three main points that you will use to support the thesis.

Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs should open with a transitional phrase that connects with the previous paragraph. Then state the points that support your thesis. These points should be backed by one or more pieces of evidence. Use your analysis of the documents that you evaluated as evidence.


This paragraph should restate your thesis and briefly summarize how you proved that your thesis is valid. The last sentence of the conclusion should contain a powerful last thought that will stick with your reader.

Sample Outline for a Five Paragraph Essay

œTo what extent did religion and economics influence the development of the Byzantine Empire and the Islamic Empire?East far