In this blog post, we will explore how to write a good outline and how it is used to develop a quality reaction essay. You will also come across a response paper example to help you better understand steps involved in writing a response essay.
Continue reading to explore writing tips from professional paper writers that you can use to improve your skills.
What Is a Response Paper?
It is vital to understand the meaning of a response essay before you start writing. Often, learners confuse this type of academic work with reviews of books, articles, events, or movies, which is not correct, although they seem similar.
A response paper gives you a platform to express your point of view, feelings, and understanding of a given subject or idea through writing. Unlike other review works, you are also required to give your idea, vision, and values contained in literal materials. In other words, while a response paper is written in a subjective way, a review paper is written in a more objective manner.
A good reaction paper links the idea in discussion with your personal opinion or experience. Response essays are written to express your deep reflections on materials, what you have understood, and how the author's work has impacted you.
Purpose of a Response Essay
Understanding reasons for writing a reaction paper will help you prepare better work. The purpose of a response essay will be:
- To summarize author's primary ideas and opinions: you need to give a summary of materials and messages the author wants you to understand.
- Providing a reflection on the subject: as a writer, you also need to express how you relate to authors' ideas and positions.
- To express how the subject affects your personal life: when writing a response paper, you are also required to provide your personal outcome and lesson learned from interacting with the material.
Response Essay Outline
You should adhere to a specific response paper outline when working on an essay. Following a recommended format ensures that you have a smooth flow of ideas. A good response paper template will make it easier for a reader to separate your point of view from author's opinion. The essay is often divided into these sections: introduction, body, and conclusion paragraphs.
Below is an example of a response essay outline template:
- Briefly introduce the topic of the response paper
- State your thesis statement or main argument
- Summary of the Source Material
- Provide a brief summary of the source material you are responding to
- Include key details or arguments from the source
- Analysis of the Source Material
- Analyze the source material and identify strengths and weaknesses
- Evaluate the author's arguments and evidence
- Provide your own perspective on the source material
- Response and Critique
- Respond to the source material and critique its arguments
- Offer your own ideas and counterarguments
- Support your response with evidence and examples
- Summarize your main points and restate your thesis
- Provide final thoughts on the source material and its implications
- Offer suggestions for further research or inquiry
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Response Paper Introduction
The success of response papers is partly dependent on how well you write the introductory paragraph. As with any academic paper, the introduction paragraph welcomes targeted readers and states the primary idea.
Below is a guideline on how to start a response essay:
- Provide a compelling hook to capture the attention of your target audience.
- Provide background information about the material, including the name and author of the work.
- Provide a brief summary of main points to bring readers who are unfamiliar with the work up to task and enable them to follow up on your subsequent analysis.
- Write a thesis statement at the end of your introductory paragraph to inform readers about the purpose and argument you are trying to relay.
Response Essay Thesis Statement
A thesis statement summarizes a paper's content within a sentence or two. A response essay thesis statement is not any different! The final sentence of the introductory paragraph of a reaction paper should give readers an idea of the message that will be discussed in your paper.
Do you know how to write a thesis statement for a response essay? If you follow the steps below, you should be able to write one:
- Review the material you are responding to, and pinpoint main points expressed by authors.
- Determine points of view or opinions you are going to discuss in the essay.
- Develop your thesis statement. It should express a summary of what will be covered in your reaction. The sentence should also consider logical flow of ideas in your writing.
- Thesis statement should be easy to spot. You should preferably place it at the end of your introductory paragraph.
Response Paper Body Paragraph
In most instances, the body section has between 1 and 3 paragraphs or more. You should first provide a summary of the article, book, or any other literature work you are responding to.
To write a response essay body paragraph that will capture the attention of readers, you must begin by providing key ideas presented in the story from the authors' point of view. In the subsequent paragraph, you should tell your audience whether you agree or disagree with these ideas as presented in the text. In the final section, you should provide an in-depth explanation of your stand and discuss various impacts of the material.
Response Paper Conclusion
In this section of a response paper, you should provide a summary of your ideas. You may provide key takeaways from your thoughts and pinpoint meaningful parts of the response. Like any other academic work, you wind up your response essay writing by giving a summary of what was discussed throughout the paper.
You should avoid introducing new evidence, ideas, or repeat contents that are included in body paragraphs in the conclusion section. After stating your final points, lessons learned, and how the work inspires you, you can wrap it up with your thesis statement.
How to Write a Response Paper?
In this section, we will provide you with tips on how to write a good response paper. To prepare a powerful reaction essay, you need to consider a two-step approach. First, you must read and analyze original sources properly. Subsequently, you also need to organize and plan the essay writing part effectively to be able to produce good reaction work. Various steps are outlined and discussed below to help you better understand how to write a response essay.
1. Pick a Topic for Your Response Essay
Picking a topic for response essay topics can be affected either by the scope of your assignment as provided by your college professor or by your preference. Irrespective of your reason, the guideline below should help you brainstorm topic ideas for your reaction:
- Start from your paper's end goal: consider what outcomes you wish to attain from writing your reaction.
- Prepare a list of all potential ideas that can help you attain your preferred result.
- Sort out topics that interest you from your list.
- Critique your final list and settle on a topic that will be comfortable to work on.
Below are some examples of good topics for response essay to get you started:
- Analyzing ideas in an article about effects of body shaming on mental health.
- Reaction paper on new theories in today's business environment.
- Movies I can watch again and again.
- A response essay on a documentary.
- Did the 9/11 terror attacks contribute to issues of religious intolerance?
2. Plan Your Thoughts and Reactions
To better plan your thoughts and reactions, you need to read the original material thoroughly to understand messages contained therein. You must understand author's line of thinking, beliefs, and values to be able to react to their content. Next, note down ideas and aspects that are important and draw any strong reactions.
Think through these ideas and record potential sequences they will take in your response paper. You should also support your opinions and reactions with quotes and texts from credible sources. This will help you write a response essay for the college level that will stand out.
3. Write a Detailed Response Paper Outline
Preparing a detailed response paper outline will exponentially improve the outcome of your writing. An essay outline will act as a benchmark that will guide you when working on each section of the paper. Sorting your ideas into sections will not only help you attain a better flow of communication in your responsive essay but also simplify your writing process.
You are encouraged to adopt the standard response essay outline provided in the sample above. By splitting your paper into introduction, body, and conclusion paragraphs, you will be able to effectively introduce your readers to ideas that will be discussed and separate your thoughts from authors' messages.
4. Write a Material Summary
For your audience to understand your reaction to certain materials, you should at first provide a brief summary of authors' points of view. This short overview should include author's name and work title.
When writing a response essay, you should dedicate a section to give an informative summary that clearly details primary points and vital supporting arguments. You must thoroughly understand the literature to be able to complete this section.
For important ideas, you can add direct quotes from the original sources in question. Writers may sometimes make a mistake of summarizing general ideas by providing detailed information about every single aspect of the material. Instead of addressing all ideas in detail, focus on key aspects.
Although you rely on your personal opinion and experience to write a response paper, you must remain objective and factual in this section. Your subjective opinion will take center stage in the personal reaction part of the essay.
Example of a Response Summary
Below is a sample summary response essays example to help you better understand how to write one.
A Summary of The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
The classic film The Adventure of Robin Hood (1938), as directed by Michael Curtis and William Keighley, stars an infamous outlaw, Robin Hood, who "robbed from the rich and gave to the poor''. The charismatic and charming Saxon lord, Robin Hood (Flynn), becomes an outlaw and seeks justice for poor people by fighting Sir Guy of Gisborne (Rathbone), Sheriff of Nottingham (Copper), and Prince John (Rains), who were oppressing people. After assembling an outlaw group, Robin defies the excessive taxes imposed on poor people by stealing from wealthy individuals and redistributing wealth to the destitute in society. Robin Hood is eventually lured into an archery tournament and gets arrested, but survives an execution. He later helps King Richard to regain his lost throne and banish Prince John.
5. Share Your Reaction
After summarizing the original material, the second part of a response paper involves writing your opinion about author’s point of view. After a thorough review of the material, you should be able to express your perspective on the subject.
In this section, you are expected to detail how the material made you feel and how it relates to your personal life, experience, and values. Within the short response essay, you may also be required to state whether you agree or disagree with author's line of thinking. How does the material relate to current issues, or in what way does it impact your understanding of a given subject? Does it change your opinion on the subject in any way? Your reaction should answer these questions.
In addition, you may also be required to outline potential advantages and shortcomings of the material in your reaction. Finally, you should also indicate whether or not you would endorse the literal work to others.
Reaction in Response Body Paragraph Example
Below is a reaction in a response essay body paragraph sample to help you improve your skills in writing the response body paragraph:
Reaction Paragraph Example
My main takeaway from watching The Adventure of Robin Hood (1938) is that society should prioritize good and justice over laws if the set rules oppress people. Prince John, Sir Guy, and Sheriff Cooper were cruel and petty and used existing laws to oppress and exploit poor people. In response, Robin Hood employed unorthodox means and tried to help oppressed people in society. I agree with his way of thinking. Laws are made to protect people in society and ensure justice is served. Therefore, when legislation fails to serve its purpose, it becomes redundant. Even in current society, we have seen democratic governments funding coups when presidents start oppressing their people. Such coups are supported despite the fact that presidency is protected by law. Although Robin Hood's actions might encourage unlawfulness if taken out of context, I would still recommend this film because its main message is advocating for justice in the community.
6. Conclude Your Response Essay
Do you know how to write a response paper conclusion? It should be the icing on the cake. Irrespective of how good previous sections were, your reaction essay will not be considered to be exceptional if you fail to provide a sum up of your reaction, ideas, and arguments in the right manner.
When writing a response essay conclusion, you should strive to summarize the outcome of your thoughts. After stating your final point, tell readers what you have learned and how that material inspired or impacted you. You can also explain how your perspective and the author's point of view intertwine with each other.
Never introduce new ideas in the conclusion paragraph. Presenting new points will not only disrupt the flow of ideas in the paper but also confuse your readers because you may be unable to explain them comprehensively.
You are also expected to link up your discussions with the thesis statement. In other words, concluding comments and observations need to incorporate the reaffirmation of the thesis statement.
Example of Response Paper Conclusion
You can use the responsive essay conclusion sample below as a benchmark to guide you in writing your concluding remarks:
There are a lot of similarities between the film's message and my opinion, values, and beliefs. Based on my personal principles, I believe the actions of the main character, Robin Hood, are justifiable and acceptable. Several people in modern society would also agree with my perspective. The movie has provided me with multiple lessons and inspirations. The main lesson acquired is that laws are not ultimate and that we should analyze how they affect people rather than adhere to them blindly. Unless legislation protects people and serves justices, it should be considered irrelevant. Also, morality outweighs legislation. From the movie, I gathered that morality should be the foundation for all laws, and at any time, morality and greater good should be prioritized above laws. The main inspiration relates to being brave in going against some legislation since the end justifies the means sometimes. My point of view and that of the movie creators intertwine. We both advocate for human decency and justice. The argument discussed supports the idea that good and justice is greater than law.
Proofread Your Response Paper
It is important to proofread your response paper before submitting it for examination. Has your essay met all instructional requirements? Have you corrected every grammatical error in your paper? These are common questions you should be asking yourself.
Proofreading your work will ensure that you have eliminated mistakes made when working on your academic work. Besides, you also get the opportunity to improve your logical flow of ideas in your paper by proofreading.
If you review your work thoroughly before submitting it for marking, you are more likely to score more marks! Use our Paper Rater, it is a tool that can help you pinpoint errors, which makes going through your work even simpler.
Response Essay Examples
If you have never written this type of academic paper before, responsive essay examples should help you grasp the primary concepts better. These response paper samples not only help you to familiarize yourself with paper's features but also help you to get an idea of how you should tackle such an assignment. Review at least one written response essay example from the compilation below to give you the confidence to tackle a reaction paper.
Response essay example: Book
Response paper example: Poem
Response paper sample: Movie
Example of a response paper: Article
Sample response essay: Issue
Response Paper Format
It is important to follow a recommended response essay format in order to adhere to academic writing standards needed for your assignment. Formats depend on your institution or the discipline.
A reaction paper can be written in many different academic writing styles, including APA, MLA, and Chicago, with each demanding a slightly different format.
The outlook of the paper and referencing varies from one writing style to another. Despite the format for a response paper, you must include introduction, body, and conclusion paragraphs.
Response Essay Writing Tips
Below are some of the best tips you can use to improve your response papers writing skills:
- Review your assignment instructions and clarify any inquiries before you start a response paper.
- Once you have selected topics for response essay, reviewed your original materials, and came up with your thesis statement, use topic sentences to facilitate logical flow in your paper.
- Always ensure that you format your work as per the standard structure to ensure that you adhere to set academic requirements. Depending on the academic writing style you will be using, ensure that you have done your in-text citation as per the paper format.
- If you have never worked on this kind of academic paper, you should review examples and samples to help you familiarize yourself with this type of work. You should, however, never plagiarize your work.
- You can use a first-person perspective to better stress your opinion or feelings about a subject. This tip is particularly crucial for reaction part of your work.
- Finally, before submitting your work, proofread your work.
Bottom Line on Response Paper Writing
As discussed in this blog post, preparing a response paper follows a two-step approach. To successfully work on these sections, you need to plan properly to ensure a smooth transition from the reading and analyzing the original material to writing your reaction. In addition, you can review previous works to improve your writing skills.
So, what is a response essay that will immediately capture the attention of your instructor? Well, it should have a captivating introduction, evidence backed reaction, and a powerful conclusion. If you follow various tips outlined above and sum up your work with thorough proofreading, there is no chance that you can fail this type of assignment.
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FAQ About Response Paper
1. How long is a short response essay?
The length of a short response essay varies depending on topic and your familiarity with the subject. Depending on how long original sources are and how many responsive points you have, your reaction paper can range from a single paragraph of 150-400 words to multiple paragraphs of 250-500 words.
2. How to start a response body paragraph?
Use an argumentative topic sentence to start your responsive paper paragraph. Failing to begin a paragraph with an elaborate topic sentence will confuse your readers. Topic sentences give readers an idea of what is being discussed in the section. Write a responsive body paragraph for every new idea you add.
3. Is reaction paper similar to a response paper?
Yes. Reaction papers and response essays are used interchangeably. Responsive essays analyze author's point of view and compare them with your personal perspective. This type of academic writing gives you freedom to share your feelings and opinion about an idea. People also discuss how ideas, concepts, and literature material influence them in a response paper.