Response Paper Writing
What Is Response Paper and How to Write It?
Every now and then college or university professors ask their students to submit a response paper that expresses their reaction to an assigned book, article, film, work of art, or an event. To get a high grade for this assignment, students should know how to write a response paper, but first of all, they have to understand what kind of paper it is.
What is a response paper? Roughly speaking, a response paper is a format that enables you to share your viewpoints and ideas about some topic as well as to discuss related beliefs and values and the reasoning behind them.
Given the purpose of this paper, it is not concise by nature. Moreover, the readers probably already have their own opinion about the work you are discussing, so you should not just share your opinion but also justify it. As an author of a response paper, you should be concerned primarily about the attitudes, beliefs, and values as they pertain to the topic. To a certain extent, a response paper is like a letter written to a friend, in which you describe your experience in an honest and straightforward way. This is one of the reasons why this type of essay is relaxed and not strictly formal; it allows students to describe their ideas vividly, paying attention to small details. A well-written response paper allows you to articulate your interpretation of what you have read, heard, or seen.
Tips on Writing a Response Paper
Part One: Pre-writing Activity
- Read and reread the requirements to know what to pay attention to as you read, watch, or listen to the assigned text, film, song, etc. Do this once again. Try to approach the assigned piece with an open mind, especially if you formed your opinion about it long ago. Understanding the concept of the work prior to its analysis is crucial to the success of your response paper.
- Brainstorm some ideas. Ideally, you should jot down the ideas that come to your head at the second reading. By then, your emotions will settle and you will start formulating analytical thoughts but your mind will still be able to come up with fresh ideas. This step is very important because if you do not start analyzing the piece as you read, some cogent points might slip your attention.
- Having read the work, reread your notes, reflect on them, and add some more thoughts. At this point, you will be ready to start forming a general idea about the work, so you can write down the most distinctive thoughts that come to your mind. Record all important ideas that occur and do not worry about their correctness or coherence of the notes because you will have a chance to improve them.
- Right now, you are ready to construct a hypothesis about the work because you understand what the author was trying to say. In addition to that, you can offer your own interpretation of the work. If you realize what you agree or disagree with or if you understand the strengths and weaknesses of the work, you are ready to formulate the thesis statement.
Part Two: How to Start a Response Paper
- Of course, experienced writers recommend creating an outline before proceeding to the first draft. In other words, you have to organize your main ideas and think about how you will explain and support your claims.
- Revise the organization and improve the structure of your write up. Good organization is, first of all, important for the reader and not so much for the writer. The reader does not know what you are trying to say, so you should guide them from the first sentence to the last one. Without proper organization, the reader will not see how different ideas work together to support your thesis statement.
- Now you are ready to write the full essay. If you are not sure how to write a good response paper, try following these easy steps:
- Create an introduction. This will be the first paragraph of your essay, in which you will mention the title of the work you are going to respond to, who created it and when, and mention other basic details. Additionally, the introduction must contain the thesis statement.
- Share your reaction. The body of the paper will contain your reaction to the work. Students are expected to share their original interpretation of the work instead of basing their reaction on someone else’s ideas. Do not be shy to express your honest opinion about the work and do not try to focus only on the positive sides if you did not live it. You are free to criticize or praise the work as long as you explain your claims and support them with evidence.
- Speaking about evidence, it is very important to back up your reaction. Criticizing or commending the work without appropriate evidence is not professional. Remember that you are writing an academic paper, so your opinion must be informed by and supported with evidence from the text. In addition to making the discussion more comprehensive, this will help you sound unbiased and reasonable. Note that is acceptable to compare this work with other similar work if appropriate, but most of the response must be based on the close reading of the assigned text.
- You might want to mention possible scenarios that would make you have an opposite opinion. For example, what could the author do differently to make you like the work? You could say, “This ending would be more appropriate for a play with a complete anti-climax but in this case, the author’s choice was not successful.”
- Language choice. Even though you will be sharing your opinion, the language has to be chosen carefully because you are still working on an academic assignment. Inappropriate language will have an immediate impact on your grade, so pay attention to:
- Clarity: avoid confusing language or sprawling sentences that interfere with the clarity of your text.
- Transparency: avoid ambiguous and unspecific words and syntactic structures that will confuse your reader. Ambiguous words and phrases are those that have multiple meanings. For example: “Jack shot a deer in his pajamas” could mean that the deer was wearing his pajamas or that Jack shot it while he was in his pajamas.
“I’ll give her a ring tomorrow” – the ‘ring’ here could either mean a metal accessory people wear on their fingers or ‘to call someone.’
- Conciseness: reading too long paper is tiresome and boring because, on the one hand, you have to finish reading, but on the other hand, you no longer enjoy the text because it feels like a waste of time. Think about your reader as you write the paper and try to be as concise as possible. Aim for brevity and you will avoid redundancies and wordiness.
- Remove repetitions: do not mention the same ideas more than once throughout your paper.
Do not use slang, clichés, vulgarism, or another language that is not appropriate for the high register. Even though this essay should have a personal touch, it will be read by your professor who will not like careless language.
Part Three: Revision, Editing, and Proofreading
Important as it might be, writing is not the final stage of response paper preparation. Submitting an essay that has not been proofread might have a disastrous effect on your academic performance. Professors expect your essay to be polished to perfection before you submit it, so you have to make sure your work if free of embarrassing typos or mistakes of any kind. Ideally, you should proofread and edit the paper a day or two after it has been written. It is also very helpful to ask someone to read your essay. By this point, you have invested so much effort into this work, so do not let a careless mistake affect the result.
Response Paper Example
An overwhelming majority of students are loaded with numerous assignments and responsibilities that complicate their studying process and prevent them from excelling in the class. Sometimes even the best and most talented students receive bad grades simply because they could not submit a paper on time or because they misinterpreted the requirements. Besides, all people need some time for themselves and their families, but the overwhelming amount of work keeps them busy round the clock. What is the way out? You must have noticed that some students have a batter student-life-work balance. They do so because they receive professional help, usually in the form of ready-made samples or custom-written essays. A decision to buy response paper online can save a huge amount of time and make your student life easier and more enjoyable. We also have such paper samples.
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