How to Write a Reaction Paper

Posted by Splice, Essay Tips Chief Writer

How to Write a Reaction Paper. In writing a good reaction paper, it is not enough to simply praise the strengths or criticize the weaknesses of the text in question. More than that, you must be able to justify your "reaction." It is important to provide the reasons why, for example, the first chapter of a novel is dragging, or why the thesis of a particular essay carries a strong point. Of equal significance is your ability to further support your reasons with academic theories or even statistical data. Here are some tips on how to write a reaction paper.

  • It is highly advisable to create an outline before you start writing your reaction paper. Doing so will help you determine beforehand how many "reactions" you have. It also affords you the opportunities to search the justifications you need and to list the supporting theories to them.

  • In a paragraph, start your reaction paper with your introduction that includes a brief summary of the material you are tasked to respond to. Devote at least three sentences for this purpose. Remember to include the title and author of the work you have summarized. At the end, write your thesis statement.

  • The second paragraph should contain your first "reaction." Write it concisely, preferably in one short sentence. Follow this with your reason for having that perception. In both cases, always refer to the work your are responding to. For instance, after stating that "I think the first chapter of the novel is dragging" continue with another sentence such as "After the first five pages, the protagonist does nothing exciting or provocative." Further substantiate your reason by adding a theoretical perspective that will explain your observation.

  • Apply the previous method with the succeeding paragraphs for your other reactions. As much as possible, use personal indicators such as "I believe," "I think," "I suppose," "In my opinion," and others.

  • End with your conclusion. Conclude with a restatement of your thesis and reactions. You may wish to wrap-up your reaction paper with a challenge to your reader, if not the author of the work you have just responded to.

Here are a few more reminders. In writing a reaction paper, keep in mind to state your opinion and analysis of the work. It is thus appropriate to use the singular first-person point of view [the "I"], but also adopt an academic tone. If you know how to write a reaction paper, it will be easy to identify and justify your reactions.



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