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How to write a response paper: from the very beginning

During college, students have to go through endless essays and research papers which are all marked on the basis of how the content is presented and also on the relevancy of the content. Each and every semester, students are asked by their respective instructors to read an article or a book and write a paper accordingly. Based on your observation and reading, you should know how to write a response paper which is basically nothing but presenting your opinion or reaction to something in an appropriate manner. There are basically two things that will be expected from you while writing a response paper. First of all, you should know how to summarize the material that you have researched on. Understand that your reaction needs to be a formal write-up and should not be written in such a way that could offend someone. The following sections of the essay will give you a vivid description of how to write a response paper.

Summary of the work

Now you need to understand how the report should start and how it is supposed to end. First of all, you need to identify who the author is and mention the title. In addition to that, it is highly recommended to write the publication date as well as the name of the publisher. In case if you are referencing magazines, make sure you give the date on which the magazine was published. Make sure the summary that you write should be a detailed one and covers all the points that you noted. The idea is to make the summary as descriptive and informative as possible. The content should always be condensed and this should be done by putting emphasis on the main points as well as the supporting points that are important to the topic. Using quotations to illustrate relevant ideas is a well-recommended practice. The summarizing of materials of reference should happen in such a way so that the person reading should get a perfect sense of each and every key aspect that you are trying to highlight.

None of the aspects of the work should be discussed in great detail since there might be other equally important points which you will miss out on while putting emphasis on one point. In addition to that, keep a proper factual summary and refrain from including your own reaction in the first paragraph itself, since you will have to let the reader know what you observed first instead of what you perceived about that observation. Your subjective form of impression will eventually go on to form the basis and cover the second part of the paper. If you know how to write a response paper, then you will definitely know the suggestions that we mentioned above.


How to describe the reaction?

Now comes the part where you need to make the reader understand your response to the work. Start by focusing on any particular question or a set of questions. You need to check with the person assisting you and know whether they want you to focus specifically on a few points. Learn how the assigned work is correlated with the ideas as well as the concerns that need to be discussed as part of the topic that you are preparing the paper for. Check the points that were made during class discussions or the lectures.

The one question which arises while learning how to write a response paper is whether the problem statement that you are discussing in the response paper panders to the present-day world and if so, then in what way? How exactly the reference that you have collected from sources is relevant to the topic and how can you connect with the problem statement on an emotional and ideological level? What were the emotions that you went through when you came across the problem statement for the first time? Was there any way that the work was able to increase the level of understanding that you had regarding a particular issue? Was your perception changed in any manner? You need to learn to evaluate the merit that the work holds by putting emphasis on the importance of the points conveyed in the response paper in addition to the completeness, accuracy and organization of the information that you have pulled from reliable sources. You must also indicate whether you would recommend the work to anyone else or not, and why.

Let us consider some of the points that you need to keep in mind regarding how to write a response paper that can score high.

First of all, it is highly important to apply the 4 basic standards that effective writing has and these include coherence, support, unity, error-free and clear sentences which are easy to understand.

Keep note of the fact that each and every major paragraph should talk about one main point and the whole emphasis needs to be put on that point itself. Let us consider an example where there is a sample report whose first paragraph describes the summary of the book and the remaining three sections of the report focus on separate reactions given by the student writer who drafted the report. Towards the end, the report is given a conclusion in the form of a short paragraph.

Each and every generic point has to be supported and backed by specific details and reasons. There are certain statements such as, ”There are many ideas in this article that I agree with” or “This book is quite interesting” are somewhat meaningless since there is no such evidence which proves the emotions that you were going through at that point of time. Observe the sample report properly and point out the main objective or sentence in each paragraph that has supporting evidence specific to the point being discussed.

Make sure the material that you are working on is properly organized and there should always be a basic plan in place which will help you in writing the summary appropriately without sounding redundant. The summary can be in one paragraph or you can divide it into multiple paragraphs. Also, make sure you use transitions that make the relationship clear among the ideas that are being discussed in the response paper.

The response paper upon completion needs to be carefully edited, so that no errors related to mechanics, grammar, punctuation, spelling and word usage can hinder the quality of the paper.

You can make use of quoted material given in books or a paraphrase a citation or a book or article that you are writing about. Make sure the documentation style is appropriate enough and just in case if you are not sure what the documentation style should be, then we would advise you to seek help from a professional instructor who has enough experience of writing response papers.

While learning how to write a response paper, you will be asked to make use of quotations in the part where you are drafting the summary and also, you need to use quotes in the reaction parts to increase the impact. But make sure that you do not rely too much on them for emphasizing on key ideas since it might start sounding a bit redundant, which will lead to the reader losing interest eventually.

Publishing of information might be incorporated in a parenthetic manner or you can make use of footnotes to put them at the bottom of the page. Take help of a professional instructor and determine what information is necessary for publishing and where exactly should that be placed.

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