Ultimate Reaction Paper Guide: Tips on How to Write It

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Ultimate Reaction Paper Guide: Tips on How to Write It
Table of Contents
  1. Ultimate Reaction Paper Guide: Tips on How to Write It
  2. What Is a Reaction Paper?
  3. How to Write a Reaction Paper?
  4. Reaction Paper Outline
  5. Helpful Notes on Writing a Reaction Paper
  6. Mistakes to Avoid in Reaction Papers
  7. Conclusion
  8. Frequently Asked Questions
  9. 1. What is the difference between a reaction paper and a critique?
  10. 2. What is the main difference between a reaction paper and a review paper?

A reaction paper is a typical assignment that students get to complete so their tutor could see how they express their personal opinions on particular matters (like an argumentative essay). It's a great tool to evaluate research and argumentative skills. It might seem hard at first sight. However, completing such an assignment on a high level will allow you to ace other similar tasks in the future.
Everything you need to understand about writing a reaction paper is here in this article. It is the primary goal of it and of our experts who are responsible for its creation. We will explain how to write a reaction paper using the knowledge you have at the moment and those you will adopt from this article.

What Is a Reaction Paper?

A reaction paper is an assignment that requires a student to express their personal opinion on specific material. Usually, such sources are articles, abstracts, or something you can watch and react to. The task is to analyze the reviewed materials and critique them by showing your thoughts. Another point is to present a way to improve a particular process or action described in your analysis source and justify your idea in the ending conclusion. 

How to Write a Reaction Paper?

First, you need to understand that your task is to impress your tutor. Show how good you are analyzing the situation and how well you can explain your opinion. So analytical, researching, and writing skills are equally important.
There are two main parts your paper should be divided into by its meaning.

  • Summary. In the first part of your response essay, you need to provide some information about the author and the topic you are examining. Creating an outline before writing your first draft is always a good idea. You should use the source given to you by the tutor as your main one. Direct quotations are absolutely normal and allowed.
  • Reaction. The second part is where you need to state your own opinion regarding the main problem. Discuss the topic and offer your ideas. Express your argument clearly. Extract the main problem and focus on it. In case there are few equal-level subjects to discuss, take your time and present your personal opinion regarding all of them. Relate the main problem to modern society or even separate individuals. Use solid arguments extracted from the primary source and compare your perspective to the one the author has. End this part with a strong concluding paragraph. 

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Reaction Paper Outline

Writing according to the proper format is the keystone of any academic task and one of the main reasons you can count on a good grade. Use appropriate reaction paper format instructions and notes to create an outline. Subsequently, you will complete an excellent first draft from scratch. Take as an example our argumentative essay format.
The outline grants you the ability to check how the reflection paper looks in the final result. It also allows moving from one paragraph to another effortless. Additionally, it helps to set the paper's proper length and avoid missing any essential details.
As most academic assignments, a reaction paper consists of three main parts plus the list of citations and sources:

  • Introduction

The introduction part is probably the most important one as this is the first thing your reader sees and interacts with. Within just a few sentences and one paragraph, you need to hook your reader up. Introduce your topic, state your main points, and get your reader interested in reading the response paper to its end. Avoid making your introduction too long and all over the place. Make your thesis statement straight to the point and clear. Keep in mind that you will need to get back to the topic sentence all the time while writing your paper. 

  • Body

The introduction is important, but it is the body paragraphs where the actual writing starts. Support all your thoughts and ideas with facts. You may also use quotes from reliable sources. But remember to keep your arguments always within the initial theme. You can add any information to support your point of view, but it should be directly related to the main topic.

  • Conclusion

The conclusion is the last part of an academic paper and this one in particular. Wonder how to summarize an article? Here restate your thesis but avoid adding any new information to the table. Your point of view is clear, and now the reader is to decide if you were right. 

Helpful Notes on Writing a Reaction Paper

Now it is clear reaction paper is a tricky thing to write. And it is always a good idea to use samples to learn from them. Mixed with various guides such as this one you are reading opens more angles of the task. Here are a few valuable notes you can consider:

  • You should read the source very carefully and stay focused to get all the details noted and memorized.
  • You can use something to highlight all the main ideas of the text or even write it down.
  • Describe your point of view by creating a thesis. Describe it with just one single sentence for a start. Then you will develop other facts and evidence to support it.
  • Use other sources to back up your reaction and ideas.

Mistakes to Avoid in Reaction Papers

Like other writing tasks, a reaction paper has some common mistakes we need to avoid while writing. Here are a few we are sure about:

  • Do not just summarize the source in your reaction paper. Your task is to analyze the content and develop your personal opinion regarding the problem and its potential solution.
  • While you always need to use evidence to support your argument, use only reliable ones. Besides, your examples should directly relate to the topic.
  • Do not be afraid to conflict with the author of the source. You are not supposed only to support their ideas. Your task is to present your personal opinion, and if it differs drastically from one the author has, it is okay. 


Like any other writing task, a reaction paper has specific details you need to reckon with. Hopefully, this guide helped you sort things out completely.
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Frequently Asked Questions 

1. What is the difference between a reaction paper and a critique?

A reaction paper aims to react to the issues described in a source and provide some counterarguments for them. More attention here is paid to the approach you take to argue the main points.
The goal of a critique is mainly about HOW you present your view of a particular source. Here you focus on a more formal evaluation of the reviewed content and conduct an objective, unbiased analysis.

2. What is the main difference between a reaction paper and a review paper?

The difference between a reaction paper and a review is that a reaction paper includes a commentary, personal reaction, take or stand regarding a topic. On the other hand, a review synthesizes the topic, and is subjective in manner.