A response paper (sometimes called a reaction paper) is a short essay which conveys the writer's reaction to one or several texts. This kind of assignment is usually given to students after they have read a number of articles or a work of fiction. Although the key words here are response and reaction, you are usually not expected to share your emotional response but rather provide a critical response to the text(s) you write about.
Response papers may or may not require the use of additional sources.
Note that response papers are not reviews; you will usually not be expected to evaluate the text(s) that you write about. Instead, the response paper is a kind of critical reading of a specific aspect of one or several texts.
Structure of response paper
A response paper is often structured according to the three-part essay model:
|Introductory part||Here you introduce the text(s) that you have read and state|
what you will focus on. Make sure you know if you are
expected to provide a short summary of the text(s) you
discuss or not.
|Body part||Here you bring up the specific issue(s) you have chosen to|
respond to. Depending on the format, the body part can be
structured thematically or in some other way.
|Concluding part||Here you sum up the argument (the 'response' to the|
text(s) that you have read).
For more info about three-part essay structure, see
For hands-on advice on how to write a response paper, see