In a reaction paper, the author discusses and responds to an article or articles s/he has read. The reaction paper requires you to understand the article(s), summarize its main points, show the relationship among the different readings (if it involves more than one article) and express your opinion. The opinion you express must be well-reasoned and based on a fair and accurate assessment of the articles. Your opinion should carefully weigh the arguments in the reading(s), evaluate the evidence and raise questions. The key to the reaction paper is the statement of your opinion or evaluation of the reading. Simply summarizing the reading is not sufficient, and would not meet the criteria for a reaction paper.
Reaction Paper Outline
a. Introduce the reading(s)
b. Introduce the main theme that you will be addressing in the paper
II. Information Summary
a. In a few paragraphs, summarize the information presented in the article(s). If there is more than one article, you may choose to summarize them together by selecting common themes, or you may summarize them separately.
b. Use direct quotes sparingly, and only if they convey something that cannot be paraphrased effectively.
a. Organize your opinion, critique or evaluation of the readings by theme. Each paragraph should address a specific issue. Remember that a critique does not necessarily mean you are saying the article is bad—you are providing an evaluation of the author(s)’ points.
a. The final section of the paper is your overall reaction to the reading(s). Was the reading a good choice? Was it informative to you? What did you learn or how did the reading affect you?
a. Provide a concluding paragraph that wraps up your main points. It should parallel your introduction and provide closure for the reader.