A response paper is a short essay which conveys the writer's reaction to one or several texts that he or she has read. This kind of assignment is usually given to students after they have read a number of articles, or a work of fiction. Depending on the teacher's instructions, response papers may or may not require the use of external sources. Note that response papers are not reviews; the writer is not supposed to offer a value statement on the text that is being discussed. Instead, the response paper which is sometimes called 'reaction paper' is a kind of critical close reading of a specific aspect of one or several texts.
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Skip to content. Skip to navigation. Each semester, you will probably be asked by at least one instructor to read a book or an article or watch a TV show or a film and to write a paper recording your response or reaction to the material. In these reports—often referred to as response or reaction papers—your instructor will most likely expect you to do two things: summarize the material and detail your reaction to it. The following pages explain both parts of a report. Here is a report written by a student in an introductory psychology course. Look at the paper closely to see how it follows the guidelines for report writing described above.
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