Writing a Response or Reaction Paper

THE WRITING PROCESS
Writing a Response or Reaction Paper
Dr. Murray and Anna C. Rockowitz Writing Center, Hunter College, City University of New York
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.
PART 1: A SUMMARY OF THE WORK
To develop the first part of a report, do the following:
• Identify the author and title of the work and include in parentheses the publisher and
publication date. For magazines, give the date of publication.
• Write an informative summary of the material.
• Condense the content of the work by highlighting its main points and key supporting
points.
• Use direct quotations from the work to illustrate important ideas.
• Summarize the material so that the reader gets a general sense of all key aspects of the
original work.
• Do not discuss in great detail any single aspect of the work, and do not neglect to mention
other equally important points.
• Also, keep the summary objective and factual. Do not include in the first part of the paper
your personal reaction to the work; your subjective impression will form the basis of the
second part of your paper.
PART 2: YOUR REACTION TO THE WORK
To develop the second part of a report, do the following:
• Focus on any or all of the following questions. Check with your instructor to see if s/he
wants you to emphasize specific points.
 How is the assigned work related to ideas and concerns discussed in the course for
which you are preparing the paper? For example, what points made in the course
textbook, class discussions, or lectures are treated more fully in the work?
 How is the work related to problems in our present-day world?
 How is the material related to your life, experiences, feelings and ideas? For instance,
what emotions did the work arouse in you?
 Did the work increase your understanding of a particular issue? Did it change your
perspective in any way?
Dr. Murray and Anna C. Rockowitz Writing Center, Hunter College, City University of New York
• Evaluate the merit of the work: the importance of its points, its accuracy, completeness,
organization, and so on.
• You should also indicate here whether or not you would recommend the work to others,
and why.
POINTS OF CONSIDERATION WHEN WRITING THE REPORT
Here are some important elements to consider as you prepare a report:
• Apply the four basic standards of effective writing (unity, support, coherence, and clear,
error-free sentences) when writing the report.
• Make sure each major paragraph presents and then develops a single main point. For
example, in the sample report that follows, the first paragraph summarizes the book, and
the three paragraphs that follow detail three separate reactions of the student writer to the
book. The student then closes the report with a short concluding paragraph.
• Support any general points you make or attitudes you express with specific reasons and
details. Statements such as “I agree with many ideas in this article” or “I found the book
very interesting” are meaningless without specific evidence that shows why you feel as
you do. Look at the sample report closely to see how the main point or topic sentence of
each paragraph is developed by specific supporting evidence.
• Organize your material. Follow the basic plan of organization explained above: a
summary of one or more paragraphs, a reaction of two or more paragraphs, and a
conclusion. Also, use transitions to make the relationships among ideas in the paper
clear.
• Edit the paper carefully for errors in grammar, mechanics, punctuation, word use, and
spelling.
• Cite paraphrased or quoted material from the book or article you are writing about, or
from any other works, by using the appropriate documentation style. If you are unsure
what documentation style is required or recommended, ask you instructor.
• You may use quotations in the summary and reaction parts of the paper, but do not rely
on them too much. Use them only to emphasize key ideas.
• Publishing information can be incorporated parenthetically or at the bottom of the page in
a footnote. Consult with your instructor to determine what publishing information is
necessary and where it should be placed.
Dr. Murray and Anna C. Rockowitz Writing Center, Hunter College, City University of New York
A SAMPLE RESPONSE OR REACTION PAPER
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.
Part 1: Summary
Topic sentence for
summary paragraph
A Report on Man’s Search for Meaning
Dr. Viktor Frankl’s book Man’s Search for Meaning (New
York: Washington Square Press, 1966) is both an autobiographical
account of his years as a prisoner in Nazi concentration camps and a
presentation of his ideas about the meaning of life. The three years
of deprivation and suffering he spent at Auschwitz and other Nazi
camps led to the development of his theory of Logotherapy, which,
very briefly, states that the primary force in human beings is “a
striving to find a meaning in one’s life” (154). Without a meaning in
life, Frankl feels, we experience emptiness and loneliness that lead
to apathy and despair. This need for meaning was demonstrated to
Frankl time and again with both himself and other prisoners who
were faced with the horrors of camp existence. Frankl was able to
sustain himself partly through the love he felt for his wife. In a
moment of spiritual insight, he realized that his love was stronger
and more meaningful than death, and would be a real and sustaining
force within him even if he knew his wife was dead. Frankl’s
comrades also had reasons to live that gave them strength. One had
a child waiting for him; another was a scientist who was working on
a series of books that needed to be finished. Finally, Frankl and his
friends found meaning through their decision to accept and bear
their fate with courage. He says that the words of Dostoevsky came
frequently to mind: “There is one thing that I dread: not to be
worthy of my suffering.” When Frankl’s prison experience was over
and he returned to his profession of psychiatry, he found that his
theory of meaning held true not only for the prisoners but for all
people. He has since had great success in working with patients by
helping them locate in their own lives meanings of love, work, and
suffering.
Part 2: Reaction
Topic sentence for first
reaction paragraph
One of my reactions to the book was the relationship I saw
between the “Capos” and ideas about anxiety, standards, and
aggression discussed in our psychology class. The Capos were
prisoners who acted as trustees, and Frankl says they acted more
cruelly toward the prisoners than the guards or the SS men. Several
psychological factors help explain this cruelty. The Capos must
have been suppressing intense anxiety about “selling themselves
out” to the Nazis in return for small favors. Frankl and other
prisoners must have been a constant reminder to the Capos of the
courage and integrity they themselves lacked. When our behaviors
Dr. Murray and Anna C. Rockowitz Writing Center, Hunter College, City University of New York
and values are threatened by someone else acting in a different way,
one way we may react is with anger and aggression. The Capos are
an extreme example of how, if the situation is right, we may be
capable of great cruelty to those whose actions threaten our
standards.
Topic sentence for
second reaction
paragraph
I think that Frankl’s idea that meaning is the most important
force in human beings helps explain some of the disorder and
discontent in the world today. Many people are unhappy because
they are caught in jobs where they have no responsibility and
creativity; their work lacks meaning. Many are also unhappy
because our culture seems to stress sexual technique in social
relationships rather than human caring. People buy popular books
that may help them become better partners in bed, but that may not
make them more sensitive to each other’s human needs. Where
there is no real care, there is no meaning. To hide the inner
emptiness that results from impersonal work and sex, people busy
themselves with the accumulation of material things. With
television sets, stereos, cars, expensive clothes, and the like, they try
to forget that their lives lack true meaning instead of working or
going to school to get a meaningful job, or trying to be decent
human beings.
Topic sentence for
third reaction
paragraph
I have also found that Frankl’s idea that suffering can have
meaning helps me understand the behavior of people I know. I have
a friend named Jim who was always poor and did not have much of
a family—only a stepmother who never cared for him as much as
for her own children. What Jim did have, though, was
determination. He worked two jobs to save money to go to school,
and then worked and went to school at the same time. The fact that
his life was hard seemed to make him bear down all the more. On
the other hand, I can think of a man in my neighborhood who for all
the years I’ve known him has done nothing with his life. He spends
whole days smoking and looking at cars going by. He is a burnedout
case. Somewhere in the past his problems must have become too
much for him, and he gave up. He could have found meaning in his
life by deciding to fight his troubles like Jim, but he didn’t, and now
he is a sad shadow of a man. Without determination and the desire
to face his hardships, he lost his chance to make his life meaningful.
Concluding paragraph
In conclusion, I would strongly recommend Frankl’s book to
persons who care about why they are alive, and who want to truly
think about the purpose and meaning of their lives
THE WRITING PROCESS
Writing a Response or Reaction Paper
Dr. Murray and Anna C. Rockowitz Writing Center, Hunter College, City University of New York
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.
PART 1: A SUMMARY OF THE WORK
To develop the first part of a report, do the following:
• Identify the author and title of the work and include in parentheses the publisher and
publication date. For magazines, give the date of publication.
• Write an informative summary of the material.
• Condense the content of the work by highlighting its main points and key supporting
points.
• Use direct quotations from the work to illustrate important ideas.
• Summarize the material so that the reader gets a general sense of all key aspects of the
original work.
• Do not discuss in great detail any single aspect of the work, and do not neglect to mention
other equally important points.
• Also, keep the summary objective and factual. Do not include in the first part of the paper
your personal reaction to the work; your subjective impression will form the basis of the
second part of your paper.
PART 2: YOUR REACTION TO THE WORK
To develop the second part of a report, do the following:
• Focus on any or all of the following questions. Check with your instructor to see if s/he
wants you to emphasize specific points.
 How is the assigned work related to ideas and concerns discussed in the course for
which you are preparing the paper? For example, what points made in the course
textbook, class discussions, or lectures are treated more fully in the work?
 How is the work related to problems in our present-day world?
 How is the material related to your life, experiences, feelings and ideas? For instance,
what emotions did the work arouse in you?
 Did the work increase your understanding of a particular issue? Did it change your
perspective in any way?
Dr. Murray and Anna C. Rockowitz Writing Center, Hunter College, City University of New York
• Evaluate the merit of the work: the importance of its points, its accuracy, completeness,
organization, and so on.
• You should also indicate here whether or not you would recommend the work to others,
and why.
POINTS OF CONSIDERATION WHEN WRITING THE REPORT
Here are some important elements to consider as you prepare a report:
• Apply the four basic standards of effective writing (unity, support, coherence, and clear,
error-free sentences) when writing the report.
• Make sure each major paragraph presents and then develops a single main point. For
example, in the sample report that follows, the first paragraph summarizes the book, and
the three paragraphs that follow detail three separate reactions of the student writer to the
book. The student then closes the report with a short concluding paragraph.
• Support any general points you make or attitudes you express with specific reasons and
details. Statements such as “I agree with many ideas in this article” or “I found the book
very interesting” are meaningless without specific evidence that shows why you feel as
you do. Look at the sample report closely to see how the main point or topic sentence of
each paragraph is developed by specific supporting evidence.
• Organize your material. Follow the basic plan of organization explained above: a
summary of one or more paragraphs, a reaction of two or more paragraphs, and a
conclusion. Also, use transitions to make the relationships among ideas in the paper
clear.
• Edit the paper carefully for errors in grammar, mechanics, punctuation, word use, and
spelling.
• Cite paraphrased or quoted material from the book or article you are writing about, or
from any other works, by using the appropriate documentation style. If you are unsure
what documentation style is required or recommended, ask you instructor.
• You may use quotations in the summary and reaction parts of the paper, but do not rely
on them too much. Use them only to emphasize key ideas.
• Publishing information can be incorporated parenthetically or at the bottom of the page in
a footnote. Consult with your instructor to determine what publishing information is
necessary and where it should be placed.
Dr. Murray and Anna C. Rockowitz Writing Center, Hunter College, City University of New York
A SAMPLE RESPONSE OR REACTION PAPER
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.
Part 1: Summary
Topic sentence for
summary paragraph
A Report on Man’s Search for Meaning
Dr. Viktor Frankl’s book Man’s Search for Meaning (New
York: Washington Square Press, 1966) is both an autobiographical
account of his years as a prisoner in Nazi concentration camps and a
presentation of his ideas about the meaning of life. The three years
of deprivation and suffering he spent at Auschwitz and other Nazi
camps led to the development of his theory of Logotherapy, which,
very briefly, states that the primary force in human beings is “a
striving to find a meaning in one’s life” (154). Without a meaning in
life, Frankl feels, we experience emptiness and loneliness that lead
to apathy and despair. This need for meaning was demonstrated to
Frankl time and again with both himself and other prisoners who
were faced with the horrors of camp existence. Frankl was able to
sustain himself partly through the love he felt for his wife. In a
moment of spiritual insight, he realized that his love was stronger
and more meaningful than death, and would be a real and sustaining
force within him even if he knew his wife was dead. Frankl’s
comrades also had reasons to live that gave them strength. One had
a child waiting for him; another was a scientist who was working on
a series of books that needed to be finished. Finally, Frankl and his
friends found meaning through their decision to accept and bear
their fate with courage. He says that the words of Dostoevsky came
frequently to mind: “There is one thing that I dread: not to be
worthy of my suffering.” When Frankl’s prison experience was over
and he returned to his profession of psychiatry, he found that his
theory of meaning held true not only for the prisoners but for all
people. He has since had great success in working with patients by
helping them locate in their own lives meanings of love, work, and
suffering.
Part 2: Reaction
Topic sentence for first
reaction paragraph
One of my reactions to the book was the relationship I saw
between the “Capos” and ideas about anxiety, standards, and
aggression discussed in our psychology class. The Capos were
prisoners who acted as trustees, and Frankl says they acted more
cruelly toward the prisoners than the guards or the SS men. Several
psychological factors help explain this cruelty. The Capos must
have been suppressing intense anxiety about “selling themselves
out” to the Nazis in return for small favors. Frankl and other
prisoners must have been a constant reminder to the Capos of the
courage and integrity they themselves lacked. When our behaviors
Dr. Murray and Anna C. Rockowitz Writing Center, Hunter College, City University of New York
and values are threatened by someone else acting in a different way,
one way we may react is with anger and aggression. The Capos are
an extreme example of how, if the situation is right, we may be
capable of great cruelty to those whose actions threaten our
standards.
Topic sentence for
second reaction
paragraph
I think that Frankl’s idea that meaning is the most important
force in human beings helps explain some of the disorder and
discontent in the world today. Many people are unhappy because
they are caught in jobs where they have no responsibility and
creativity; their work lacks meaning. Many are also unhappy
because our culture seems to stress sexual technique in social
relationships rather than human caring. People buy popular books
that may help them become better partners in bed, but that may not
make them more sensitive to each other’s human needs. Where
there is no real care, there is no meaning. To hide the inner
emptiness that results from impersonal work and sex, people busy
themselves with the accumulation of material things. With
television sets, stereos, cars, expensive clothes, and the like, they try
to forget that their lives lack true meaning instead of working or
going to school to get a meaningful job, or trying to be decent
human beings.
Topic sentence for
third reaction
paragraph
I have also found that Frankl’s idea that suffering can have
meaning helps me understand the behavior of people I know. I have
a friend named Jim who was always poor and did not have much of
a family—only a stepmother who never cared for him as much as
for her own children. What Jim did have, though, was
determination. He worked two jobs to save money to go to school,
and then worked and went to school at the same time. The fact that
his life was hard seemed to make him bear down all the more. On
the other hand, I can think of a man in my neighborhood who for all
the years I’ve known him has done nothing with his life. He spends
whole days smoking and looking at cars going by. He is a burnedout
case. Somewhere in the past his problems must have become too
much for him, and he gave up. He could have found meaning in his
life by deciding to fight his troubles like Jim, but he didn’t, and now
he is a sad shadow of a man. Without determination and the desire
to face his hardships, he lost his chance to make his life meaningful.
Concluding paragraph
In conclusion, I would strongly recommend Frankl’s book to
persons who care about why they are alive, and who want to truly
think about the purpose and meaning of their lives

Place this order or similar order and get an amazing discount. USE Discount code “GET20” for 20% discount

Posted in Uncategorized