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Guidelines on How to Write a Reaction Paper

Guidelines on How to Write a Reaction Paper

Writing a proper reaction paper can be a difficult task. First, because it’s not a very common assignment, so many college students have no experience and clear understanding of how to write it. Second, because writing a reaction paper requires lots of time and tons of work.

In order to make the task at least a little bit easier, we’ve collected some great tips and advice from experienced authors. The guidelines will not only explain to you how your reaction paper shall be written but will also help you to build an effective plan for your preparation and creating your college paper.

What is a Reaction Paper?

Perhaps, you have already dealt with several types of essays and write college papers, however, it’s ok if you have no idea what a research paper is. This type of essay is not as common as many others. As you may understand from the name of the essay type, this writing work is aimed at expressing your reaction to a certain event or an object. The essay allows you to express your thought and opinion about a scientific invention, social phenomena, article, event, book, film, etc.

There’s a great diversity of the topics of reaction papers. Often, teachers ask to describe your reaction on some new events or innovative discoveries of a scientific sphere. However, it’s not a rule.

Reaction Paper Format and Outline

The reaction paper format reminds the classic structure of any essay. It may also vary depending on the academic style required by your teacher or college. There are only a few differences and special features that help to recognize a structure of reaction paper among others.

The main components of the reaction paper are:

  • Basic information (Introduction);
  • Brief Summary;
  • Thesis statement;
  • Body paragraph;
  • Conclusion.

Basic Information

This part of the paper allows a reader to understand what the text is about. It includes a title and some information about an object you are describing in your essay.

This part shall be informative but easy to read and to understand. Avoid difficult terms and words that are not understandable for a not prepared auditory. Concentrate on including some intriguing facts or questions.

Brief Summary

This part shall not be confused with the final conclusion. It is used to make your reader understand what you are going to talk about, to describe some background and terms.

A brief summary shall prepare your reader for receiving and realizing the main informative part, however, it shall not reveal much and shall not include too many facts and your own summaries.

Thesis Statement

A thesis statement explains why the paper can be exciting and useful. Basically, a thesis statement reflects the issue you are going to solve in your essay.

Body Paragraph

The body of your paper is a very informative and valuable part. It’s aimed at opening the theme and gives the information you managed to find about the topic. This part also includes statements to show and prove your reaction to a certain event or an object.

Usually, this part of an essay is the biggest. You can separate it on sub-paragraph to help your reader accept and understand the information easier.


At the end of the paper, you can summarize everything that was said above and make some valuable conclusions based on the data you wrote in the body paragraph.

This part of the texts includes a short brief of the information that was said above. However, what is more important, it includes some practical conclusions that can be used for further investigation.

Dos and Don’ts for Writing a Reaction Paper

In order to understand how to make your essay worth A mark, check the list of does and don’ts.


  • Use clear reasons and solid facts to support and explain your reaction. The essay allows you to express your own ideas and conclusions about the discussed object. However, it’s always wiser to base your statements on official facts or to refer to some reliable sources.
  • Separate a body paragraph on smaller parts. Use sub-paragraphs whenever it can be useful. This helps your readers to accept and understand the information easier.
  • Include the original data and references to the official sources. In order to evaluate your reaction to a certain event or an object, people may want to know more about the original source.
  • Pay great attention to editing and proofreading the final text. It’s not a rare case when students get lower marks because of small grammatical mistakes or misprints. In order to avoid this, leave enough time for editing and proofreading.
  • Check samples of the similar works. Even if you’ve learned all the guidelines, read some nice samples of reaction papers before starting your work. This may become an additional source of inspiration and will help you to evaluate your essay comparing it to others.


  • Don’t use common phrases that have no informative meaning. There are many phrases that we use while speaking or writing, however, they have no informative value or express those ideas that are too understandable. It’s better to avoid using such phrases as they may only irritate and puzzle your readers.
  • Don’t mix several statements in one sub-paragraph. It’s always easier to read text if it’s separated into smaller parts. Don’t use the same sub-paragraph to describe different statements.
  • Don’t make your sentences long

Sometimes students think that making sentences long and rich in terms and scientific words make the whole text sound more valuable. Instead, it only makes the text difficult to understand and impossible to read.

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