A reaction or response paper requires the author or the writer to analyze a particular text and then develop a suitable commentary related to that text. A reaction paper is a common academic assignment since it requires thoughtful reading, research, and writing.
The first stage of reading a reaction paper involves pre-writing and actively reading the text that has been assigned to you. Below are the steps involved in the pre-writing and active reading phase:
- Have a clear comprehension of the purpose of the paper
- Figure out what the reaction paper (assignment) requires you to do
- Read the text you have been assigned to immediately it is assigned to you
- Note down your initial reactions
- Annotate the text as you read through it
- Question the text as you read through it including elements such as the issues being addressed by the author, the main point of the author, the assumptions made by the author, the strengths and weaknesses of the text, and the relationship between the texts (in case you have been assigned multiple texts) among others.
The next stage involves drafting your reaction paper. Below are the steps involved in this particular stage:
- Free-write your reactions and evaluations of the ideas of the author.
- Decide on you angle. Since reaction papers are critical and have a great deal of text evaluation, you need to decide on your angle, whether you agree or disagree with the position taken by the author of the text, why the author structured the text in that manner, why the author wrote the text, and the relationship between the text and the outside world among others. Reaction papers are different from summaries of a text.
- Determine the thesis of your reaction paper.
- Organize your paper into the introduction, body, and conclusion.
- Gather the necessary quotations from the text. Quotations are important because they will enable you to support your points. When writing a reaction paper, you must support your claims with relevant evidence from the text.
- Structure your paragraphs in an effective manner. Each paragraph should always begin with a topic sentence.
The final stage of writing a reaction paper is writing the final draft. There are various stages involved in writing the final draft of a reaction paper including:
- Writing the introduction. The introductory paragraph should state the name of the text, the author as well as the focus of the reaction paper.
- Re-reading the reaction paragraphs so as to ensure that they make a stance. In a reaction paper, you should focus on critiquing, analyzing, and evaluating a text as opposed to merely providing facts.
- Explain the broader implications of the selected text to the audience, author, class, or yourself.
- Edit your reaction paper for clarity and length requirements.
- Proofread and spell check your reaction paper to eliminate any errors.
- Ask yourself if you have provided a suitable response to the assignment.
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