Common Student Assignments: What is a Reaction Paper?

Reaction Paper

Education helps develop intellectual abilities and practical skills in various fields. Ability to analyze, draw conclusions and make decisions are fundamental to any activity. A variety of academic assignments and papers improve our skills. So, how to write a good reaction paper? What is it and why do you need it? A reaction paper is a written assignment where you provide a response to given prompt. Distinctions of this type of task compared to other similar ones are in the following points:

  • Concrete object. Often the instructor determines the object to get your opinion and reaction. It can be various kinds of literary works (a book, an article, a poem, a fairy tale, another academic paper), pieces of art, musical and cinematographic works (film, video clip, advertisement, song). The object will be the basis for your paper. You will conduct a thorough research.
  • Criticism. It means that you have the skills to process information, analyze it, and develop your own approach to the issue. In this case, you can apply both a comparison and an evaluation of the object. Also, you should provide an additional research on the reliability of information.
  • First-person appeal. Most academic writing implies impersonal appeal. However, writing a reaction paper allows the use of the first person. The very essence of the task requires expressing your own reactions and reasoning based on the completed summary. Remember that academic paper has an official format, so keep the balance. Excessive use of “I verb….” reduces the trust of the reader.

So what is the reaction paper definition? It is an academic written assignment where the student should thoughtfully read, analyze the text (or another object), summarize and provide his own reaction. Successful fulfillment of the task with the least efforts requires preparation and compliance with the steps.

Key Elements and Reaction Paper Sample

Any kind of academic paper contains a number of features. Key moments reveal the essence of the task itself, important details and integral processes. This means that you will approach the implementation of the issue with understanding and goal.

  • What is required: For the perfect paper, you need to know what the professor expects to see. If you do not know for sure, it’s better to clarify. It is important to understand in what light to present the task. For example, after listening to a lecture, you need to write an assignment based on the acquired knowledge. So, check what you have to apply: information from another book, discussions in the classroom or purely personal presentation.
  • Goal: To read the text and write your own statements is not enough. You’ll have to work on the text. Read the text thoughtfully, determine what sense the author pursued, whether there is a hidden subtext. Then you will be able to analyze how the author coped with his task, the weak and strong sides of the test, and give your conclusion.
  • Read carefully: You will have to read more than once. Whenever you read the text, ask questions. For example, what is the target audience? How are the characters revealed? Every time when you cannot give an exact answer, you will have to reread the text. The best thing to do is to postpone the text after the first reading. When you read it again, you may have new ideas or you will confirm your reactions.
  • Highlight the main: The analysis is the identification of key points in the text and the creation of your own thoughts in this vein. Create notes or highlight directly in the text what you should pay attention to. Why is this necessary? This facilitates navigation and helps to create the structure of your paper. In addition, you will need to confirm your own statements with quotes from the text. Take into account you should not prescribe the author’s words.
  • Reactions: The very essence of the task calls you to include your own reaction to the investigation. When you read the text for the first time, signify what you felt, saw, and understood. Each time rereading, determine why you have such emotions. What the reason for your perception of the situation is and how the text affected you.

Simple Steps Regarding How to Start a Reaction Paper

Like any academic assignment, it is important to observe the structure: the introduction, the body, the conclusion. This is applicable both for paper as a whole and for each paragraph. Be maximally specific in your thesis statement. It should be solid and understandable and also lead to the discussion. Get key elements on how to write a reaction paper.

    Check the assignment. If it is not clear, ask teacher all questions. You can also specify what literature you should read in addition and what kind of research you should provide outside the main text.

    Once you received the assignment, read. Firstly, there will be more time to complete. This will save you from stress and a sleepless night before submitting. Moreover, the quality of the paper itself will be much better, because you have time to prepare. Secondly, the reaction is part of the task, so postpone the text for a while to confirm your first impressions.

  • Record your observations immediately after reading. A large interval will erase important details. The qualitative analysis demonstrates attention to the peculiarities of the text. Write down your observations, feelings, and ideas right away. Later, you will need to answer what led you to such thoughts, the reason for your reaction.
  • Decide on the priorities. What reactions were the strongest. Distribute in proportion to importance and interest. So you decide how best to reveal the strengths and weaknesses of the text and what arguments and criticisms to use.
  • Time for an outline. The recorded earlier reaction will help you create a reaction paper outline. It allows you to create a clear structure and focus on the performance of each part of a paper. Even if you take a break, you will not lose the main thread of the text.
  • Revise quotations. Systemize all quotations from the text. Do they really support your stance? Write them down according to your outline and provide comment to each of them. Every quotation should be related to the thesis statement and provide evidence for your reaction.
  • Get started to write. Actually, you may not follow the sequence in the outline. Start with body paragraphs if it’s more convenient for you. Then you can form introduction and thesis statement relevant to the main part. If you do all pre-writing work, writing a paper is reduced to the technical observance of structure, grammar, and punctuation.

Academic Paper APA Formatting

Notice that one of the requirements can be to write reaction paper APA format. The format of the document should contain such parts: title page, abstract, main body, and references. Every page begins with the header at the top flush left and a page number on the right top corner. Title page indicates author, title, and institution. The abstract occupies second page where you give a brief summary of your paper. The main body is actually your paper.

Pay special attention to the reference, the final part of the formatting. It is placed on the last sheets of your work. Head new page “References” and specify all the sources you use in alphabetical order. Note: you should also cite the source directly in the text of your paper.

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