Documented Essay Example, Topics, & How-To Guide 

What is a documented essay and what is the purpose of it? It is a type of academic writing where the author develops an opinion relying on secondary resources. A documented essay can be assigned in school or college. You should incorporate arguments and facts from outside sources into the text.

The components of a successful documented essay are as follows:

  • A good topic;
  • A well-developed outline;
  • Thorough research of an issue;
  • A flawless reference list.

For more information on the subject, consider the sections below prepared by our experts.

❓ What Is a Documented Essay?

A documented essay is a piece of academic writing that aims to consider a particular topic relying on a number of the most trusted secondary sources. This kind of essay is longer than a standard 5-paragraph essay. It highlights the spectrum of existing research in the field.

📓 How to Write a Documented Essay?

Of course, this work will be a bit more complicated than the papers you have written before. If you’ve seen documented essay examples, you understand that they differ from standard essays.

Documented EssayStandard Essay
All assertions should be supported with valid evidence from different kinds of sources.Assertions are mostly based on the writer’s observations, ideas, and beliefs.
A longer piece of writing (usually, 5 to 8 pages).A shorter piece of writing (usually, 5 to 8 paragraphs).
Purpose: to conduct research on a particular topic and uniquely report the results. Purpose: to analyze already written research papers and present the writer’s opinion regarding the topic.
A documented essay is built on the knowledge of other people specializing in a particular field. Thus, it relies on numerous secondary sources.The standard essay only reflects the author’s thoughts regarding the particular issue. It does not depend on outside sources.
The writer selects a raw material and turns it into a research paper. The writer does not conduct any research. They rely on already done literature.
It requires a holistic picture of the researched issue. It does not require a multifaceted understanding of the theme. It may cover specific points of the broad issue.

To write a documented essay, you have to do the following:

✅ Pick a Topic

A list of documented essay topics can be just endless. Сhoosing a good idea for your research will be one of the main challenges. You can either develop some that you have already investigated to a certain extent or pick something new.

Your documented essay topic should be:

  • catchy;
  • informative;
  • relatable to the reader.

Yet, there is a golden rule:

Your choice of a topic should depend on your interests, preferences, and knowledge. If the idea is interesting for you, an essay creation process will turn into a pleasurable activity. Thus, carefully pick one for your documented essay. A great idea is a key to the paper’s success.


If you are really into business and dreaming about establishing a company one day, use this opportunity!

  • Investigate different models of firms’ management.
  • Explore the significance of social media on the promotion of the products.
  • Examine the cash flow operation within the organization.

You can choose any direction you consider the most exciting. But we don’t recommend you write a documented essay on psychology, philosophy, or medicine. Firstly, you will struggle with the topic you are not interested in. Secondly, you will not apply the gained knowledge in the future. However, the business insights gained while writing a paper will be useful in establishing a company.

✅ Find Sources

Sources that you use when writing your documented essay are crucial for your success. You will have to work with primary and secondary sources, collect data from books and publications. Alternatively, you will come up with experiments and conduct surveys to get the necessary data.

  • Investigate your issue as meticulously as possible. To make your paper strong and impressive, you have to consider plenty of sources and data. Prove the readers your excellence and professionalism.
  • Use only academic articles and scholarly books. Select extremely carefully! All the supportive facts should be valid and directly correspond to your topic. When it comes to sources, pay attention to their credibility.
  • Avoid using any info from random websites. Exclude Wikipedia and personal blogs from the list of possible sources. Official e-newspapers (New York Times, BBC), governmental pages (.gov), and educational websites (.edu) are considered to be trustworthy.

Finding credible sources can be a challenging task. So, try using online research tools to facilitate it.

✅ Outline and Write a Research-Based Documented Essay

The majority of students tend to underestimate the power of outlining. Don’t make this mistake! Consider the following tips on your essay structure:

  1. The sketch of your documented essay should include an introduction, a conclusion, and body paragraphs.
  2. The last sentence of an intro is supposed to be your thesis statement. It is a critical part of your research paper, so make it well-developed and concise.
  3. Each paragraph should have an introductory and concluding sentence. Such a frame will effectively structure your thoughts.
  4. While creating an outline, figure out your arguments’ order and choose the appropriate evidence for each point. Make sure your paper is structured coherently and logically.
  5. If you feel like something is wrong, take a note and consider rewriting it later, after the essay’s whole picture will be visible.

After completing the rough draft of the paper, start polishing it. Double-check all the citations. Make sure appropriate transitions connect the paragraphs. Trace the arguments and supporting evidence and check if they are logically structured.


Your documented essay should cover the research issue and state your position. Properly develop your ideas and support them by the valid evidence from outside resources. Every point has to be related to your thesis statement. Finally, the conclusion should open a space for further investigation of the issue.

✅ Document Sources

It is the gist of writing the documented essays. All sources should be cited and arranged into a Bibliography list. Make sure it is error-free and follows the essay format. Mind that you will have to learn the rules of MLA, APA, and some other citation styles. Every style has numerous formatting requirements, so students often get confused.

The primary tip is:

To ensure the flawlessness of your works cited list, carefully read the instructions of the essay format you are applying. Always follow the guidelines and double-check all the details. The creation of the reference list is quite a challenging task. Yet, if you are concentrated and careful enough, you will succeed!

We suggest you read articles about MLA and APA formats. They are the most popular citation styles, so you should find out more about their peculiarities.

In short, the bibliography lists will look as follows:

APA Citation Format MLA Citation Format

Heading of the page with the sources:

References or Reference (if only one source is used)

  • centered
  • not bold

Heading of the page with the sources:

Works Cited or Work Cited (if only one source is used)

  • centered
  • not bold

General book format:

Last name, First initial. Middle initial. (Year). Book title: Subtitle. Publisher.

General book format:

Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Publisher, Publication Date.

Article in periodicals:

Last name, First initial. Middle initial. (Year). Title of the article. Journal Title, volume(number), pages–pages.

Article in periodicals:

Author. “Title of an Article.” Title of Periodical, Volume and/or Number, Date, Location (Page Numbers).

Web sources reference:

Last name, First initial. The middle initial of an editor, author, or compiler. (Year, Month Date). Website page title. Site Name. URL.

Web sources reference:

Editor, author, or compiler name. Name of Site. Version number, Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site, date of resource creation (if available), URL, DOI, or permalink. Date of access.

  • Hanging intent: the one-half inch (1.27 cm) intent of all lines after the entry’s first line.
  • Alphabetized (from A to Z) by the first letter of the entry.
  • Font size 12, double-spaced.

Check an example of a documented essay to see how an APA reference list looks like.

📚 Documented Essay Topics

Here are some examples of documented essay topics:

  1. The influence of different types of advertising on various age groups.
  2. The influence of financial well-being on life quality.
  3. The health risks of sugar overconsumption.
  4. Possible ways of dealing with corruption in developing countries.
  5. Online banking: new opportunities or new threats?
  6. The installation of parents’ control on children’s smartphones: pros and cons. Is it worth doing?
  7. Ways to successful communication between managers and employees.
  8. Analyze the impact of organizational leadership philosophy on the company performance.
  9. Explore the specifics of real estate fund management.
  10. Describe the pros and cons of a diversified investment portfolio.
  11. Interconnection between global economy and business expansion.
  12. Discuss the advantages and risks of investing in the furniture business.
  13. Explain what made Asia Pacific multinational enterprises so successful.
  14. Analyze the crucial factors of the successful global entrepreneurship.
  15. Social media and its impact on teenagers lives.
  16. Examine the influence of culture on shaping human behavior and relationships.
  17. Has culture really become a driver of urbanization?
  18. Describe the connection between the climate change and carbon dioxide emissions.
  19. The influence of organizational politics on decision making.
  20. The role of Greenpeace in lowering the negative technological influence on the environment.
  21. Discuss the influence of family on eating disorders in children.
  22. Explore the ways social changes can influence the environment.
  23. Analyze how air pollution influences the health of the New York City citizens.
  24. What are the core values of Chinese culture?
  25. Impact of globalization on a country’s economy.
  26. Describe the advantages and shortcomings of random drug testing.
  27. Discuss the aspects of various theories of personal development.
  28. What can be done to prevent Netherlands from flooding?
  29. Is it a good idea to decriminalize marijuana?
  30. Ethic al issues in ICT: disclosing personal information.
  31. Examine the influence of technologic innovations on business.
  32. Analyze the impact of globalization processes on media industry.
  33. Is solar power a solution of environmental issues?
  34. Describe the health hazards of having nightmares.
  35. Discuss the pros and cons of international credit.
  36. Explore the influence of COVID-19 on the economy.
  37. Compare the differences in coffee culture in different countries.
  38. Connection between clean water shortage and the problem of poverty.
  39. Analyze the positive and negative aspects of a high nutrition diet.
  40. Examine the effect of trans and saturated fats on human health.
  41. How the use of solar energy in China influences climate change.
  42. Is it possible to give up food additives completely?
  43. Pros and cons of integrating bilingualism in early childhood education.
  44. Describe the peculiarities of native and non-native educators in language teaching.
  45. Can the design activism change society?
  46. Discuss the role of social media marketing for business practices.
  47. Talent management impact on OCBC’s formation.
  48. Explore the advantages and drawbacks of social media.
  49. Do you believe that social media can be a tool to change the world?
  50. Analyze the pros and cons of genetically modified food.

📝 Documented Essay Example

Are you looking for a research-based documented essay example? We have prepared one for you. Check it out:


The Obesity Epidemic and Its Complex Causes 

In recent decades, the obesity epidemic has become a serious problem for public health. According to the WHO (2016), there are just under 2 billion overweight adults in the world. More than 600 million of them are considered obese. These indicators testify to a severe epidemic caused by various reasons, including genetics, environment, and lifestyle.

Several genetic factors may predispose to the development of obesity. A cross-sectional observational study of 260 children showed that a family history of obesity is a critical risk factor for the severity of obesity in childhood (Corica et al., 2018). According to Tester et al. (2020), children gain excess weight due to the multiple genes they have, and these genes make them favor food and, thereby, have a higher caloric intake. Obesity-predisposing genes may as well persist into adulthood, causing some adults to struggle with weight management despite similar lifestyle choices compared to their peers.

Although genetics play an important role in obesity predisposition, extragenetic factors also contribute to its development. For example, long working hours can increase BMI due to reduced time for exercise and physical activity and shifting toward ready-processed meals and fast food (Courtemanche, 2009). Besides, the role of social networks and peer effects in increasing obesity prevalence cannot be ignored. Christakis (2007) emphasizes that an individual’s risk of weight gain increases by more than 50% if a friend becomes obese and by more than 30% if a partner is obese. As a result, many people suffer from obesity even though their family members or forefathers never had such a problem.

Obesity has become a big global concern in the 21st century. Now it is clearer than ever that the obesity epidemic is the result of a complex interaction between environmental influences, genetic vulnerability, and human activity. To solve this problem, public health professionals should develop effective interventions considering genetic and extragenetic factors contributing to obesity.

Thank you for reading, and good luck with your documented essay! Feel free to come back and check out our other academic articles, available on the blog. Share the article with those who might find it useful.

🔗 References

This article was developed by the editorial team of, a professional writing service with 3-hour delivery.
Comments (2)

Mathew Torres
Mathew Torres

This is a great blog! There are a lot of really helpful ideas. I am going to start writing my documented essay, and this post will help me. So thanks!

Martin P.
Martin P.

I’d like to share this post on writing a documented essay with my friends in college. Soon we have to write our documented essays, and your guide will definitely help us!