How to Write a Reaction Paper

How to Write a Reaction Paper

Posted on Posted in reaction paper, writing tips

A reaction paper involves critical reading of a text or watching a movie. Then, you will write your reaction in a properly-structured paper.

Why Should You Learn How to Write a Reaction Paper, Anyway?

Many students are wondering: what is a reaction paper? They don’t understand the assignment. Since the professors don’t bother explaining, the students are making assumptions. If they know how to write a response paper, they assume the reaction project is the same thing.

Let’s clarify this. It’s the same thing. Some of your professors will call it a reaction paper, others will refer to it as a response paper. In reality, there is a subtle difference between a reaction and a response. The reaction is a minimum-level response, while the response comes with the understanding of context. In academic writing, there’s no difference between the two terms.

The reaction paper is different from all other projects you’ve tackled. Maybe you mastered the writing a synthesis essay. Maybe you have no problem when you need to analyze a poem. It still doesn’t mean you’ll handle the reaction paper with ease.

It’s still important to pay attention to this assignment. It teaches you how to analyze ideas and articulate sound opinions. When we’re reading articles or watching movies, we tend to form shallow opinions. We’re susceptible to the author’s influence. This assignment teaches us to move away from that habit.

The Guide: How to Write Reaction Paper Step by Step

When students are wondering how to write a personal response paper, some of them assume: “I can just write what I think… that can’t be wrong, right?” Well… yes, you should write what you think. However, the reaction paper has to follow a particular structure and meet certain standards. We’ll tell you how to tackle the assignment.

  1. Do the Critical Reading/Watching

Before we go any further, let’s clarify one thing: do you want to learn how to write a reaction paper to a book or an academic/newspaper article? Maybe your professor asked you to react to a movie, so you want to learn how to write a reaction paper about a movie? The format will remain the same. The difference is the first step: you’ll be doing critical reading or watching.

When you’re reading or watching, you should identify the ideas, organization, and purpose of the piece. Keep taking notes; you’ll need them.

  1. Go Through the Process of Critical Thinking

You can’t start writing the paper right away. First, you have to figure out what you think. It’s best not to do any research at this point. The arguments of other people may interfere with your own ideas. Here’s what you’ll need to do at this stage:

Analyze and evaluate the text.

What are the main ideas? What do you think about them?

Extract quotes that support your main points.

  1. Do Some Research

It’s important to find details, facts, and explanations that support your opinions. If the book or movie was about the Dark Ages, for example, you can find few interesting details that make your arguments stronger.

  1. Write It!

The reaction paper consists of few main parts:


This should be brief. Summarize the book, article or movie you’re reacting to. You shouldn’t get in details; just focus on the key aspects. Use direct quotes from the work, so you’ll demonstrate the main ideas.

Your Reaction

Write your opinions about particular parts of the text or movie. Use the material you have from the brainstorming process.


Support your opinion with facts, quotes, and information from other sources. Don’t use too many references. It’s your point of view that matters.

  1. Edit!

Here at XpertWriters, we always recommend students to edit their papers before submitting them. Choose it from the number of professional college essay writing services. It’s important to polish out the content, so you’ll benefit the most from your efforts.

Are You Ready to Start Writing a Response Paper?

There are few main questions students have after getting informed on the structure of this kind of assignment:

  • How to write an introduction for a reaction paper?

Do you just start summarizing?

It’s important to focus on one main point (thesis). Each paragraph of your paper should be related to it.

If you don’t know how to start the introduction, you can always use a quote from the piece. Make sure this quote reflects the main point the author wanted to make.

  • How to write a summary response paper?

Here’s what you need to focus on:

  • The author’s thesis
  • The main supporting ideas
  • The most important details
  • Do I write my honest opinion?

Yes. Even if your opinion is bold and unusual, you should be honest. However, this paper mustn’t be offensive.

  • Can I paraphrase?

No. You can’t just go through few Goodreads reviews and write a response paper by paraphrasing them. This should be unique content. If you have troubles coming up with original ideas, can help.

With all this information, you’re definitely ready to start writing your response paper. Don’t procrastinate. Start today!

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