How to Write a Documented Essay: Helpful Ideas & Examples

Are you still trying to figure out what a documented essay is? It is a type of academic writing where the author develops an opinion relying on secondary resources. The writer creates a research paper, incorporating arguments and facts from outside sources.

The components of a successful documented essay are as follows:

  • a good topic;
  • thorough research of an issue;
  • a flawless reference list.

So, congratulations! Now you know what a documented essay is. For more information on the subject, consider the sections below prepared by our experts.

📓 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.

Example:

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.

Here are some examples of documented essay topics:

  • The influence of different types of advertising on various age groups.
  • The health risks of sugar overconsumption.
  • Possible ways of dealing with corruption in developing countries.
  • Online banking: new opportunities or new threats?
  • The installation of parents’ control on children’s smartphones: pros and cons. Is it worth doing?

✅ 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

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.

Overall:

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. https://doi.org/xx.xxx/yyyy

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.

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

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!

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