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How to write a reaction paper?

How To Write A Reaction Paper?

Writing reaction papers can be tricky. If not thought of properly, it is difficult to express your thoughts and opinions organised. And if not placed in an organised manner, the paper won't be able to spread the message that you as a writer want the readers to acknowledge and understand.

This blog will describe what a reaction paper means and how one should be written.

Let's start!

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The Basics Of A Reaction Paper

A reaction paper is nothing but a type of academic writing that provides your personal opinion regarding a given piece of work. This work can be anything, an article, a journal etc. A good reaction paper must include the following – 

  • A brief summary of the work.
  • Your thoughts
  • Your realisations
  • Your feelings

To include all the points mentioned earlier, you must do a proper analysis of the original text. However, this won't suffice; besides doing an in-depth analysis, you must collect the same reactions from outside sources. Then you can align them with your personal thoughts and opinions. 

The main parts of a reaction paper are similar to any other academic writing. It includes – 

  1. An introduction
  2. A body
  3. A conclusion 
  4. A list of citations and sources.

Now, as you understand what a reaction paper exactly is, let's see how to write one of them.

How To Write A Reaction Paper?

As mentioned earlier, writing a reaction paper can be tricky. You need to frame a proper structure to organise a proper flow of information. The most viable structure of a reaction paper has been mentioned below – 

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  1. Read And Analyse

In the case of a reaction paper, analysis of the piece of work you are reacting to is very important. A proper analysis demands thorough reading of the same. Hence, the first step you must take is to read the work you are reacting to.

  • Please pay attention while reading and note all the important points and areas that are worth mentioning and emphasis.
  • If at some point you feel stuck, ask for help from experts who have proper knowledge on the same.
  • Do not keep your questions unanswered. This might affect the quality of the reaction that you are providing.
  • While you are performing the analysis, make sure to note the first thoughts that you have. Later, if required, refer to these notes.
  1. Craft A Thesis Statement

While performing analysis, try to identify the major angle of the piece of work you are reacting to. What are the things mainly addressed through the same?

  • Find out the factors influencing this angle. Find out if something is opposing the angle built up in your mind.
  • Based on this, frame a thesis statementfor your reaction paper.
  • Remember, the statement must align with all the information present in the article you are reacting to.
  • Do not make the statement lengthy. Try to keep it concise, compact and yet impactful.
  • The thesis statement must offer a glimpse of your entire paper. It should have all the points that you want the readers to understand. 
  1. Frame The Outline

After your thesis statement is ready, go for building the outline of the reaction paper. By now, you know what angle you will write your reaction paper in and the key points you are supposed to highlight. Hence this is the perfect time to decide what heads and subheads to include. Organise the headings properly to reduce the chances of major errors. Also, the entire process becomes much easier and more convenient.

  1. Prepare The First Draft

Follow the guideline and prepare the first draft of your reaction paper. This won't be obviously the final one. But this will be a rough yet clear model of the ultimate finished product.

  • When you prepare the first draftand then read it thoroughly, you will naturally come across various thoughts and ideas of how it can be made better. You will know what is missing and what has been overemphasised.
  • You can again carry out minor research and find the missing parts based on the same.
  • If possible, you can take guidance from your instructor by showing them the first draft. Follow the suggestions in the final draft.
  1. Do Multiple Revisions

Every time you prepare a rough draft, focus on the major thing and do the corrections. For example, during your first rough draft, you focus on checking whether or not you stick to your central idea.

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If so, then only do the corrections related to that. During this time, do not check the spelling, grammar and typing mistakes. If required, go second, third, fourth, and as many rough drafts as you require. There is no harm in polishing and repeating the process. Remember, this might be time-consuming, but the end result will be worth all the time.

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Tips For Writing A Reaction Paper

  1. Always follow the conventional structure of writing academic content. Do not try to show your creativity here. It might result in the bad organisation of information and, hence, decrease the paper's quality.
  2. Do not cluster too many thoughts in one paragraph itself. Keep one paragraph focusing on particular thought itself. Keep 2-3 following paragraphs to include points that support your thoughts.
  3. Give sufficient points that justify your statement. Give relevant examples for support.
  4. It is absolutely okay to quote original text from the text you are reacting to. But do not overuse them. Also, follow proper quotation rules.
  5. Be very straightforward with your own thoughts and opinions. Do not express vaguely. It might create confusion. 
  6. Follow all basic dos and don'ts of writing, specifically academic writing.
  7. Proofread multiple times. If required, ask other intellects to proofread your document. This will help you submit more flawless content.


From the above discussion it must be clear that writing a reaction paper is not difficult but a bit tricky. It needs to be done in a strategic way following the proper structure. Hopefully the steps of writing a reaction paper mentioned above will help you learn the same. Follow the steps and tips and keep practising to master the skill of writing proper reaction papers.

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