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How to Write a Reaction Paper — Guide for Students

For students who have never heard the term before, they may be confused as to what a reaction paper means. So naturally, it helps to start by clarifying what it means. A reaction paper or essay is a piece of writing that is intended to convey the views or positions of the writer regarding the material in focus. The material could be another essay of whatever kind — piece of creative writing such as a novel, or articles and blog writings. A reaction paper is not just a summary of the material in focus but the detailed subjective writing of the author, hence it is very much an involved process of expressing one's opinions with respect to a piece of writing.

Consequently, to excel at writing a reaction paper, it is necessary to read with great care and curiosity the material concerned, question the things you read and ponder what could be the author's motivation for how or what he wrote. Taking note of your questions at first read helps you capture your initial views and quite aptly your reaction. Perhaps, after reading the first few pages, you were shocked about the writer's use of the word, a character's attitude and value system, or you were left in suspense, hooked and wanting to read further. By having such observations early on and noting them down, you already have laid the foundation for what your reaction paper will look like. The other aspects of the process are going to be explained further below. After reading this text, we hope you would have familiarized yourself not only with the concept of a reaction paper but also how to write a reaction paper.

What is a Reaction Paper — Definitionand Purpose

Although some ideas about the meaning of a reaction paper have been conveyed above, here more details will be given not just about the concept, but also other important things to know about what is expected in a reaction paper. Starting with a reaction paper definition, you will know precisely what it means at the core. A reaction paper can be defined as a subjective piece of writing expressing the writer's views or opinions in response to (or concerning) a body of material read.

Below are some major points about a reaction paper:

  1. It is not a summary of the material read — a merely shortened reproduction of the full material without a personal critique.
  2. It is not enough to express personal opinions in a generalized manner without paying attention or connecting to the material in focus. Hence, it is not sufficient to simply say things like, "I found it quite interesting," "I was engrossed reading the text," "it is the worst thing I ever read." Do you see the problems with those statements? They are too generic and reveal nothing more. You should mention the reason(s) behind your stance and give a reference in the text as to why you hold such a view.
  3. It should be an honest critic or assessment from a personal standpoint. As much as one may attempt to be impassioned in writing such a paper as a reaction essay, it is going to be biased to some degree based on personal views, values, and preferences. It is only human nature that personal bias will exist. But much of the aim of being asked to write a reaction essay is to observe how well you understand your own views on issues raised in the material, and how balanced or extreme your reaction is. If, for instance, you are strongly against feminism, when asked to read and react to a piece of writing or even documentary about the issue, don't be tempted to go overboard castigating on and on the material.

Depending on the specific requirements given, the reaction paper could be very lengthy or brief.

The question of how long should a reaction paper be is one that is best answered by the person who assigned the task. But that said, you should also know what the structure of the reaction paper should look like and what content goes where. Should you have any issue with writing a reaction essay, do not hesitate to engage us. We have expert writers experienced enough to assist you to create a piece of reaction paper just for you as you require.

Reaction Paper Outline Format — Know the Structure

As will nearly always be true, the way you present your ideas or content in the paper will be a major factor influencing your grade. If you are not given requirements as to how to structure your reaction paper, you should, nonetheless, take the issue seriously. Generally, it should have an introductory paragraph, then the body consisting of paragraphs with a logical flow or transition from one to the next, lastly a conclusion or closing paragraph.

How to Start a Reaction Paper?

Before you begin, ensure you understand what specifically you required to do. Then carefully go through the material of focus. As you do so, write down your initial reactions and questions and the associated parts of the text for ease of citation, next write the outline of the paper before you actually start writing. Knowing how to write an introduction paragraph for a reaction paper is an important part of the process. You should mention the title of the material in focus, its author(s), publication year, and a brief insight into the content. Also, you should add your thesis statement in the opening paragraph.

How to Write a Thesis Statement for a Reaction Paper?

It is necessary to state your overarching position or key opinion in the introductory paragraph. That is known as a thesis statement. Your thesis statement should clearly reveal what your key opinion is. It would usually be placed in the last sentence of the paragraph. It helps to create some degree of curiosity in the reader as to why you hold that view.

How to End a Reaction Paper?

Your ending paragraph should contain a short recap of your key opinions or points as explained in the paragraphs and link them to your thesis statement. That will help reinforce the position you have chosen in the assessing the material.

Reaction Paper Topics to Consider

Topics for writing a reaction paper are numerous and varied. It could be about a creative piece of writing such as a fictional novel, or visual media such as movies or documentary, or any piece of writing, literary or scientific that may be interesting or relevant to your course. However, it is more common to have a specific topic assigned to you. Here are some possible topics for a reaction essay.

  1. Using any particular report on workplace diversity, write a reaction paper. Should cultural diversity be encouraged and actively pursued in companies? What are your reasons?
  2. Can government meaningfully contain obesity among youths?
  3. Noise pollution near airports: Is it the responsibility of people living near airports to manage the problem or should government intervene? If yes, how?
  4. What are your favorite and most memorable parts of the first season of the Game of Thrones series?
  5. Should married gay couples be allowed to adopt kids especially females?
  6. How would you react to the documentary on Edward Snowden titled Citizen Four?
  7. Walking Dead is a popular TV series. How would you describe your reaction after watching it for the first time (perhaps the first season or episodes)?
  8. Do you believe short-term home rental services like Airbnb are useful in the long run?
  9. What is your most memorable vacation and why?
  10. What was your reaction to the 2016 US Presidential Election result that Donald Trump won?
  11. What is your reaction to the Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal? What actions should individuals take to protect themselves from privacy breaches?
  12. What is your reaction to the news coverage of the immigration policy of Donald Trump's administration involving the separation of migrant children from their parents?
  13. Have you read the opinion article (OpEd) titled I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration published on New York Times in September 2018. If yes, give your reaction, otherwise, read it and give your reaction.
  14. Have you ever witnessed the occurrence of a natural disaster? Write your reaction paper about it.
  15. What is your reaction to the movie adaptation of the comic book, Venom?
  16. Write a reaction paper on the horror movie titled The Nun.
  17. Avengers: Infinity War is arguably the most dramatic installment of the movie series. Watch it and write your reaction paper on it.
  18. Watch the inauguration speech of President Donald Trump in January 2017. How would you react to it?
  19. Have you ever been in a car accident or seen one happen? What was your reaction to it?
  20. An autobiography titled Steve Jobs was written by Walter Isaacson and published in 2011. It is centered around the personal life of Steve Jobs, famed for being the co-founder of Apple Inc. and leader behind the innovativeness the brand is known for. Write a reaction paper on the book.

The above topics should help you figure out what you want to write on and how to write a good reaction paper. That said, do not waste time getting started with us if you need any assistance with writing a reaction paper. You will get only the best paper you deserve from skilled writers.