How To Begin a Reaction Paper: Ultimate Guide

By: Max Malak

16 min



How To Begin a Reaction Paper: Ultimate Guide

It is important to build a connection with readers, to intrigue them along with just enough data to keep them up to date.

You should also distinguish the objective facts and your own opinions. Use phrases like ‘I believe’, ‘I think’, ‘In my opinion’, ‘My first reaction was’, ‘I was especially moved by’, ‘The author was successful in making me feel’, and so on. They will show people that you’re writing a reaction paper, not a critical review, an argumentative essay, or any other kind of an academic document.

Create The Main Part Of The Reaction Paper

Your next step is to write the body of the reaction paper.

It is the most informative, and therefore the most difficult. You have at least 3 paragraphs, each of which should have a particular structure. If your professor hasn't provided you with clear instructions on the number of sections, you can experiment with them. The main thing is to stick to the specified number of words.

It is crucial to choose one tone and style for the entire paper so that your reader does not feel confused if you suddenly change tactics towards the middle of the paper.

Think of every paragraph in your body as a mini-essay. It should have an introduction, body, and conclusion. You will start with a thesis statement, then explain it and propose a solution or make inferences.

The next good strategy is to divide your paper into two parts: the summary and your reaction. Let us explain.

Start With A Summary Of The Article

To develop the first part of the body section, follow the next tips:

  • Provide the title of the article and its author, and include the information about the publisher and publication date according to your formatting style;
  • Come up with a brief and informative summary of the article;
  • Highlight the main idea of the text, as well as points that support it;
  • Choose and include some quotations to make your words more powerful;
  • Don’t concentrate too much on any single aspect of the content;
  • Don’t miss ideas that are equally essential.
  • Try to keep the summary as objective and factual as possible. Leave your subjective opinion for the next part.

Write this summary, thinking of your audience who is not familiar with the source. You shouldn’t retell it from A to Z, just define the essential aspects and include them in your paper.

Express Your Reaction To The Article

The second part of the body section is no less important. We’ve prepared useful tips for it as well:

  • Check your instructions to understand whether your professor expects you to react on some specific points.
  • Think of how the article is related to topics discussed in the course?
  • How is the article related to relevant problems in the USA or the whole world?
  • Can you say that the content is related to your life, personal experience, ideas?
  • What emotions did the article arouse in you?
  • Is it possible to say that the paper increased your understanding of some issues?
  • Did the content change your point of view in any way?
  • Evaluate the importance of the piece, as well as its structure, accuracy, organization, etc.
  • Would you recommend this writing to others? Why yes? Why not?

This part is subjective, and it is crucial to make it sincere. People should believe you and your opinion. If you say something, try to provide quotations to illustrate your words.

Consider a Reaction Paper Format

The format is what helps to make the paper standardized. This is very important for scientific and academic documents because standards organize millions of different articles.

Depending on what direction you are studying, you can deal with APA format paper, MLA, Chicago, Harvard, or other styles. All of them are popular in their scientific fields, and you can easily find official guides with important requirements.

Formatting style governs how your document looks and how it presents your content. We are talking about the title page, bibliography, font type and size, indents before paragraphs, and other details.

In all honesty, you need to have a keen eye and be very careful to format your paper 100% correctly. Fortunately, there are various smart helpers today, such as a cover page generator and professional writing services that help with this task.

Let’s Sum Up: All You Need To Succeed With A Reaction Paper

We hope that our tips were helpful, and now you’re sitting in front of the sheet or your laptop being ready to start writing.

We know that such assignments are not the easiest. But they are amazing. Look at the blank sheet, there is nothing on it. And you’re going to change it. Just from your head, by creating and developing new, original ideas. It is a perfect ability of the humans’ brains.

The secret is pretty simple: practice makes perfect. Let’s be honest: your first school essay was just disgusting. Of course, if you’re not a genius writer. But it doesn’t define you. Your first college or university pieces won’t be excellent as well. Know what? They don’t define your writing abilities as well. If you want to develop your skills and come up with good essays, case studies, term papers, and other student assignments, you should practice. So let us sum up the main tips again.

Understand The Assignment

Just imagine the situation when you wrote a fantastic text. You love it, you feel inspired and happy. And then you realize you got a C-grade. What could be worse?

If you want to make this situation impossible, you should always start by reading the instructions carefully. Some professors provide only the topic and type of assignment, but others offer even small details, such as paragraph titles. And they immediately determine the direction of your text. When you are dealing with academic assignments, you can be creative, but only within certain frameworks.

Make notes while reading studying in college or university, you’ll quickly understand one simple rule: if your professor assigns you a straightforward task, it’s a bad assignment. It will not help you gain new insights or develop useful skills. You learn when you challenge yourself and overcome difficulties.

Unfortunately, modern students face too many challenges. And every person may need help sometimes. The reasons can be very different: illness, stress, many tasks, the need to work or to spend time with relatives. In the end, you can get assigned to write a reaction paper. But what if you have other talents and don't consider yourself a good writer? If you just skip this assignment, it will affect your academic performance.

Regardless of your reasons, don’t hesitate to benefit from professional assistance. Read this article, and you will find many useful tips on how to write a paper with your reaction.

Figure Out What Reaction Paper Is

Whatever task you receive, your very first step is to understand it. Each professor has one’s expectations, and you need not just write a good paper copying a successful sample from the Internet, but fulfill the concrete requirements. No need to worry if you don’t know how to write a response paper since there is a lot of information these days, and even writing services are always ready to provide you with qualified assistance.

To start with, understand what reaction paper is. It is easy enough since it is already clear from the word “reaction”. Your task is to provide a response, your opinion on something. Usually, it goes about the book, article, movie, play, etc. Pay attention that it is not the review where you should use critical thinking. If you need to provide your reaction to an article, ask yourself:

  • How do you feel about this piece?
  • Are there things you strongly agree or disagree with?
  • Can you find yourself in the situation?
  • What would be the best way to describe this article?
  • What people would you recommend it to?

Define The Key Parts Of Reaction Paper Example

Once you read and understand the requirements, it is also essential to plan your future paper. You need to appreciate its integral parts, and this process will help you organize your ideas and ensure the text has a logical structure.

The same holds when you deal with any writing assignment.

Typically, an academic reaction paper is a 5-paragraph structure. It includes the introduction, the central part, and a conclusion. You should devote 1 paragraph to the first and the last section each and come up with at least 3 paragraphs for the central part.

Of course, each of these sections has its structure, and you shouldn’t keep it in mind all the time. Defining the necessary parts, for example, hooks for the introduction to quickly grab the readers’ attention, write them down. It is a good idea to have a notebook with you all the time since you never know when your brain is ready to generate something fresh.

Reaction Paper Guidelines Learn Key Steps Of Writing

Whatever task you are dealing with, the secret is to plan the whole process correctly. You may know that a lot of students struggle because of procrastination. They think about the home task all the time, but they simply can’t sit down and start working. You’re one of them sometimes. Do you know what the reasons for such a situation are? It’s because these students don’t know what to do. You have a task, you have a deadline, but you don’t have a plan.

That’s why it is so essential to divide the whole assignment into several smaller parts. You can set your deadlines for each of them. Then you will know what your task for today is, and it would be easier to stay organized. Besides, looking at how you gradually work with these milestones and finish them can be very motivational. You’ve covered a lot of grass already, so you’ll succeed with the rest of the task.

So, what are the critical steps of the writing process you should consider?

Prewriting Stage

If it is your first assignment, you may not know that the prewriting stage is no less important than the writing one. It is especially relevant when it goes about the reaction paper. Your task is to respond, so you firstly need to create this response.

So, you should read the article or the other piece provided by your professor multiple times. Reading it for the first time, concentrate on the text-only. Once you’ve finished, make a pause, and ask yourself what you think about it. Write down your initial thoughts about the article. Don’t worry about the clearness or the structure, you’ll have time to polish your content.

It would be a great idea to leave the article for a day or 2 before you get to it again. Of course, if you’re not limited to a definite deadline. Your brain will come up with new ideas and reactions suddenly when you even don’t think about this task. Write them down as well, and go to the next step.

Read And Analyze

Now, when you have defined your first opinion, you can read the article again and again. You can only use a more rational approach, delving deeper into the meaning of the text, analyzing its advantages and disadvantages.

Depending on your major, specialty, background, and topic of the article, you will pay attention to specific things. For example, philologists always notice literary devices, while economists ever see statistics and graphs.

You need to catch this moment when you concentrate on one aspect of the article and switch to others. Unless otherwise provided by the instructions, it is advisable to cover the entire text and not one particular part.

You should also analyze your thoughts. Why exactly do you feel something about this paper? Do you know some facts about the author that influence your reaction? It is essential to reflect on your ideas because it is how people get new, unobvious insights.

Draft Stage

So, now you have everything you need and know how to start a paper with the reaction. If you have developed a quality outline and written down all your ideas, you have enough material to get started.

Try not to delay writing a draft because the sooner you come up with the first version, the more time you will have to make changes and polish it. If you start writing the day before the deadline, you run the risk of finding yourself in a situation where you need to deliver a paper of low quality.

Your draft won't be perfect. And it shouldn't be. It is necessary to help you evaluate your ideas and understand whether they are perfect. Once you have finished the first version, you will see that some sections require revision. Make the edits until you’re satisfied with your reaction paper.

Proofread The Paper

Proofreading is the last stage of the whole writing process, and it is the most important sometimes. When you finish your paper with the previous point, forget about it for a couple of days again, if your deadlines let you. However, even if the task is very urgent, you shouldn’t just skip proofreading.

Read your text several times, eliminate all inaccuracies, logical inconsistencies, mistakes, and typos. Ensure you’ve explained your thoughts the same way the sound in your head. Then it is crucial to make sure that the piece meets the requirements. Don’t forget about the appropriate formatting as well.

It would be a great idea to ask someone to read your paper. It doesn’t matter whether this person is familiar with the article or its topic. The other view is always essential since it is fresh and unique. Of course, if you have a kind of instructor, you should ask for advice. Or you can hire a professional author or an editor to help you come up with a decent result.

How Do You Start An Introduction For a Reaction Paper?

Any academic paper starts with an introduction. It may have a different name sometimes, but it always has a similar structure and purpose.

This is the first paragraph of your paper, and therefore the first that your audience will read. Perhaps it will be the last one as well. It depends on how responsibly you approach the task and make the content attractive.

The introduction should include basic concepts, definitions, and other important information necessary to understand the essence of your reaction paper. Starting your introduction, you need to a) grab the attention of readers; b) provide them with a background of information.

Once your audience finishes reading the section, they should decide whether they want to continue. Explain why your content is worth reading, what useful information can other people find here.

Write The First Paragraph

In all fairness, writing the first paragraph can be the most challenging task.

This is precisely the situation that we have already mentioned. When you sit, and you just can't start. Now that you are sufficiently prepared, the process will be more straightforward.

You can read a few examples of reaction papers to understand how other students or professional writers have done it. But don't copy or paraphrase them because plagiarism is frowned upon by the academic community.

Imagine that you are writing for people who have not read the article. Perhaps they are interested in this topic and have some knowledge. You don't need to explain everything from scratch. But make sure that the introductory section is simple and straightforward, and prepare the audience for the central part.

Start With Announcing Your Topic

There is no doubt that a topic is the foundation of any paper you deal with. It can reflect different aspects of the issue, depending on what angle you look at it. And you need to bring your readers up to date immediately.

This is not rocket science. Just enter your topic and add a few ideas that will explain its importance. Why is this relevant? Why do you want to bring up some issues in your paper?

It is best to start with general information. Explain the problem briefly and show that it is worth considering. If you start describing your opinion from the first sentences, readers will quickly lose interest.

Introduce The Article You React To

Your next step is to introduce the article. Most likely, your audience hasn’t read it, and therefore it needs your reaction paper. It is a very responsible task since you have the readers' trust, and you should justify it.

Provide necessary information about the article and its author. When you look for material at the prewriting stage, it is essential to read something about its biography, views, and career. It would help if you understood why precisely one had crafted this article and the real reasons.

Writing an introduction, you can also provide the opposite position. Critical reviews will help you and your readers to look at the topic from all angles. It is a vital skill for all students. Besides, if you feel something about the critical comments, you should also analyze them. Why do you like them? Or, why do you find them offensive? And so on.

State Your Thesis

The thesis statement is the final sentence of your introduction. It should highlight everything you wrote earlier and combine all your paper's ideas logically and concisely. It is crucial to make the thesis clear. If you cannot explain your reaction paper's meaning in 15-20 sentences, it will most likely be difficult for your readers to understand.

If you find it challenging to come up with a fair statement, you can use a unique generator to provide you with some cool ideas.

Check Yourself

Here is a list of 5 goals you should accomplish in your introduction:

  1. Provide general information on the topic;
  2. Introduce readers to the heart of the matter;
  3. Show the significance of the problem;
  4. Formulate the main idea of your paper;
  5. Be interesting and accurate.

One more important skill that every student should have is the ability to evaluate one’s efforts. If you see that you can’t write a single sentence, or your introduction paragraph is not as good as you expected, maybe you even shouldn’t waste your time.

Think about hiring a professional writing service to help you with your academic assignment. This is a guarantee of a decent result and an excellent grade.

Sample Statements For Introductory Paragraph

You can engage your audience right from the first sentences through a variety of tried-and-true strategies:

  • Pose a question;
  • Define the key term;
  • Provide a brief joke;
  • Use emotional appeal;
  • Pull out an uncommon fact.

Note that this is a reaction paper and not, for example, an analysis paper. The reaction is something quick, sometimes even lightning fast. In many cases, it is also something unconscious.

This is why it is important to take notes as you read. You can catch some non-obvious ideas. Of course, not all of your thoughts will be equally useful. Even so, the document is limited in words. Therefore, you will need to prioritize. But for this purpose, you need to have a list full of various notes.

Plan Your Time

Don’t wait for the last day before the deadline. The sooner you start, the better it goes. Divide the task into milestones, and add them to your calendar. If you want, you can even come up with some excellent rewards for each part.

Modern students have many distractors, so think about how you can get rid of them to concentrate on your homework. You may use a Pomodoro technique or other time-management tool to stay focused. Spotify also has playlists to work hard.

Think Critically

Critical thinking skills will help you to analyze whether the document you read is outstanding. They also come in handy when you reflect on your personal feelings. It is important to understand what exactly you feel and why.

And that’s why we have recommended you to get familiar with some opposite points of view. The truth is always somewhere in between.

Formulate The Thesis Statement

Sometimes formulating the thesis statement takes even more time than writing a whole paragraph. It is because the single phrase defines the complete sense of the paper. You should approach it with responsibility and creativity at the same time.

Try the brainstorming technique to come up with several thesis statements. Then choose the best one.

Emphasize On Analysis

There is a widespread mistake a lot of students make. They state some apparent facts instead of emphasizing their opinion and analysis of the text.

It shows that you’ve not understood the task well. Always delve deeper, try to get the point. Your professor expects not the summary only, your personal opinion comes first.

Include Supporting Examples

You can’t just write a reaction using phrases like ‘I agree with the author’ or ‘I think the author could have focused on other aspects’. These phrases are not enough to provide your opinion. Justify each statement with the available examples.

User ratings:

User ratings is 4.4 stars.

4.4/5 (7 Votes)

Max Malak

Product Manager

Here at Studybay, I work as a Head of Affiliates in the marketing department. I studied Liberal Arts and took related classes at Tokyo Sophia University. I believe that challenges are what make my job fun and exciting. That's why I like completing complex, complicated, and even weird tasks and then sharing my experience with colleagues.

Add Your Comment

We are very interested to know your opinion

Name Email
Get Help