A DBQ essay or a data based question essay is a form of expository writing. DBQ‘s are commonly seen in social studies. It depends on the state stardards when or even if this form of expository writing will be introduced to the student. In NY, students are required to write a DBQ as young as fifth grade. That means they might be introduced to it as young as fourth grade. In GA, it is only introduced if the students take an AP, advanced placement, class or is in the gifted program, but even the latter is up to the personal preference of the teacher.
Data Based Question Essays use documents to reinforce the point the expository writer is making. The documents are usually primary sources however secondary sources can also be used. The documents are cited by the writer of the expository DBQ essay.
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Leveled-Expository-Writing-System-867302 offers an outline included in it’s expository leveled writing system that can help organize students.