How to Write A Reaction Paper: Guide For College Students

Many times is necessary for teachers and professors to assess the student’s abilities in the paper, and that’s why the essays are so popular. And every kind of essay serves a purpose, so if you need to write a reaction paper keep reading, and we will tell you the details you need to know.

First Things First: What Is A Reaction Paper?

Reaction papers – or reaction essay – are a type of essay, written with a critical perspective in response to another text – which is why they are also known as a response paper or response essay. They are frequently used by teachers and college professors to asses the students reading comprehension abilities.

The process of writing a reaction paper includes two parts:

  • The analysis of the text,
  • And the correct expression of your personal response.

Sometimes people confuse a reaction paper with a research paper. And this is a big mistake because they have different purposes and should be approached with different methods. If you have doubts you can take a look at this article about how to write a research paper, so you can clear your thoughts on how to differentiate them.

It´s also important to learn to differentiate the reaction essay from the summary essay. A reaction paper concentrates on the opinion that the writer has of it, while a summary essay is more about rewriting the original text. Still, it is recommendable for the first paragraph of the essay to be a summary of the primary text. With this, you can give your reader a clear idea about the original text, before reading your opinion.

What about the reaction papers format?

A reaction essay is an academic piece, and as such it must be presented following some protocols regarding the format. And by format, we mean characteristics like page size, font sizes, and margins. There are some predetermined styles, established by several institutes, that are used frequently.

  • MLA style. This is a format created by the Modern Languages Association, and it’s usually applied in humanistic or artistic pieces. It regulates several aspects, like the font size (12pts) and the margins (1 inch).
  • APA style. This is a frequently used format, created by the American Psychiatrists Association. Establish that the page size must be a letter, the margins must have 1 inch, and that the font must be Times New Roman size 12 pts, among other details.
  • Vancouver style. This style is mainly used in the field of health, created by the National Library of Medicine. It’s applied in articles, essays, papers, books, and any text related to medicine.

The format style of a reaction paper mostly depends on the protocols of your academy or teacher.

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What Are The Reaction Paper Outlines?

Every essay must have a precise structure, that works as a skeleton for the paper. This structure defines the outlines that the writer has to follow when writing an essay. They are actually very specific, and because of that are also easy to follow.


The introduction is the first part of every essay, and it should be about 15%-20% percent of the content. In this, you have to mention the main ideas of your paper, without going too deep in them. And also present the “problem” or “object” in which your essay centers.

Body Paragraphs

This is the largest part of every reaction essay and every kind of essay. Is where the writer has to explain, not only the main ideas but also the arguments to defend them. So, is the part of the text where there should be more citations and analysis.

Conclusion Paragraphs

The reaction paper should close with the conclusions of the writer, which are the results of the analysis and considerations of all the arguments. If the conclusions aren’t coherent with the arguments, then the analysis failed.


There are several ways to make citations, and each style defines its own. So the first thing you’ll need to check is the format you have to use and look on the internet or in a library for the specifications of that format.

Something that will be always as important in every paper is grammar since it proves knowledge and respect for the language. If you are having troubles in this regard, you could take a look at this site, where you’ll find grammar tips for students. Having some help is always a good way to improve your performance.

Some Tips On How To Write a Reaction Paper Properly

Writing a paper can seem challenging, and it is. But that doesn’t have to discourage you, because there are several ways to get an effective paper.

On the one hand you could look for services on academic writing, and if this is your preference, you could check this site where you can pay for assignment. If you rather do the reaction paper by your self then here is some inside information that can help you on your

  • Organize the process. Writing is a process that is more effective if you follow it step by step.
  • Take notes while reading. This way you can keep track of your reaction.
  • Read the text several times. The first two times you are processing the content, but after a third time, you start creating your own thoughts.
  • Be clear about the ideas. If you don’t express your ideas with precision, the reader might not understand your point.
  • Respect the format. The presentation of a reaction essay is really important.
  • Remember that its a reader response essay. So, you have to express your own ideas about the text.

Reaction papers are written works, and they take some time and effort. But you can find many ways to guide your process and help you create an excellent piece. Just keep in mind that these essays are about your opinion, and your originality is what will make them stand out.

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