Reaction Paper – Purpose, Parts and Format for Fresh Writers

Reaction Paper – Purpose, Parts and Format for Fresh Writers

Does your teacher ask you to write a response to something at the end of each semester? Does he ask you to review a book, research article, or a recent scientific publication? If he does so, then know that he wants you to write a reaction paper. In such papers, your course instructor often expects you to do two things. One is summarising the details present in the reviewed work, and the second is detailing your reaction to it.

Many students are unaware of such things, and they just do not know how to write a reaction paper. Even I have encountered some students who do not know the definition of this paper, its purpose, and its parts. Due to this, I decided to write an article on this paper. Today’s article is going to define this paper in detail, along with its parts and format. It is a guide for every fresh writer. So, read it till the last word.

What is a reaction paper in academic writing?

A reaction paper is a written response to something that your teacher or course instructor may ask you to write to pass the semester. This paper is usually a 2–5-page long document which contains your original thoughts about the topic. Since you need to state your opinion in the paper, it is important that this paper is based on your opinion and experience. The teachers often use this paper as a tool to check the student’s critical thinking abilities.

For example, you are a media studies student, and your teacher wants you to state your response to a media advertisement-related paper, i.e., “Killing us Softly 4.” How will you write a reaction paper on this topic? First, you will explain what is written in the document and then state your reaction toward the given pieces of evidence in the paper.

What is the purpose of a reaction paper?

The purpose of a reaction paper is a pretty straightforward thing to comprehend. Its main purpose is to give your thoughts and opinions about something a textual shape. Another point that highlights its purpose is that it summarises the work of others and includes your interpretation of the original work. However, do you know the primary objective of writing such a paper is something else? Yes, its primary objective is to check your critical thinking abilities and skills to critique a research article or paper.

What are the different parts of a reaction paper?

From the discussion above, you now have a good idea of what a reaction paper is, its importance, and its purpose in academic writing. However, without knowing the parts of this paper, the conversation is incomplete. So, let’s have a snapshot of all its parts one by one.

1. Summary of the paper

Part of 1 of a reaction paper is always the summary of the work that you are going to react on. In summary, you should identify the author, the title of the work that will be reacted upon, and the publisher’s information. Giving a publication date, in summary, is not mandatory. However, if you want, you can give it. After giving all this information, start your summary formally and highlight the main points discussed in the entire research article or paper. Use direct quotations from the literary work in your paper to illustrate the main ideas. Hence, summarising is the first part of this paper. You can also hire a PhD dissertation writing service to summarize your paper.

2. Your reaction to the work

Part 2 of your reaction paper consists of your reaction to the literary work. This section is also called the body paragraph section of your paper. As a writer, you need to be extra careful about this section of your essay. It is because this is the section where your teacher concentrates the most and has an idea of your critical thinking skills. So, focus on the main research questions when writing your reaction and critically analyse the work based on those. Do not forget to check your teacher’s requirements. Check if he wants you to do something extra in the paper. If he wants you to pay extra attention to some points in the work, then do that.

3. Concluding the paper

Part 3 is the most important part of a reaction or response paper. It is about concluding the paper and concluding it right in light of the given details and your reaction to those details. It is the section where you discuss how your reaction and the actual paper relate to each other. Remember that if your conclusion is not coherent with your reaction or arguments, then your response is failed. So, make sure that you write in a related way. Also, do not try to include anything new in the conclusion section. Only reiterate what you have learned from the paper.

The format of a reaction or response paper

As described earlier, this paper is a 2–5-page long document that critically analyses a literary work and gives the writer’s understanding of the whole paper. However, do you know what goes into those 2-5 pages? What is the information that constitutes those pages? Probably not. So, there is a need to learn the format of this paper. The typical format is as follows:

  • A summary or backdrop of the literary work containing the author’s name, publisher details, and publication date.
  • The second most important part of a reaction paper is the analysis part. It is that part where the writer analyses the situation and records his reaction. So, in terms of formatting, it comes right after the summary.
  • What comes after the analysis? Yes, it is the synthesis part where the writer tries to establish a connection between his reaction and the content of the paper.
  • A response paper may or may not feature a conclusion. However, the conclusion is still a part of the format of this paper if your teacher requires you to conclude it.


Conclusively, a reaction paper is a paper in which you discuss your thoughts and opinions about a literary work. This work is purely opinion-based; therefore, you can comfortably use the first-person point of view “I” in it. The main sections that formulate its format are discussed above. So, follow that structure and craft your response paper today.


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