Writing a Response Paper
Daniela Munca, ETRC, 2010
What is a Response Paper?
• A statement of students’ opinion on a
• a critical reflection on a piece of writing (book,
poem, article, news, etc.), movie, painting,
• require a thoughtful insight into the subject-
matter on many different levels
The purposes of a
• To relate your observation of a work or event
• to show your personal reaction to a work or
• to demonstrate your ability to validate your
• to communicate in writing your personal
viewpoint and personal learning as they relate
specifically to the book, essay, paper, article, etc
• to artfully make a connection between the
subject at hand and your own experience
Questions to be Adressed:
• l. What (meanings, values, etc.) was the author
trying to promote?
2. What is my personal position relative to the
author's. How do you feel about what you are
reading? What do you agree or disagree with?
3. How has reading and reflecting on this affected
my lived world experience?
4. What would be the best way to evaluate the
story / movie / play / song ?
* Use examples from the text to convincingly
support the claims you're making
* When quoting extensively, take time to explain
the specific parts in the long quote that prove
* Refer to specific moments in the poem that
clarify your idea/s for the reade
* Mention the source (name, date, publication,
• There is no "correct" answer in a response paper.
• Your response can be either favorable or
• The main criterion is how well you support your
• Be careful not to rely merely on vague
• Be sure you refer to those specific aspects of the
work which produced your response
• Start with your overall impression. Listen to
your thoughts. Write them down.
• Decide what made you feel that way. Draft a
paragraph on each idea, and give details and
examples to support each point.
• Determine what caused that response and
write supporting details.
• Response essay, regardless of its focus, will be
always composed of:
– strong thesis,
– well-developed body essay and
– a conclusion which addresses any prospective
Response Paper Thesis
• announces what topic or source is about to
undergo the ensuing critique
• clarifies which aspect of the source will be
considered and briefly explain why
• addresses researched material so that all
supporting evidence can be referenced with
• should sound fresh and convince the reader
that reading the content is really worthwhile
• Failure to state your response clearly.
• Failure to mention what aspects of the work
or event affect your response.
• Failure to show as well as tell. Support your
reactions with examples from the work or
event so that the reader sees the reason for
Two Paragraphs Response Essays
• 1) Summary
• 2) Critique
• Personal opinion
Response Paper Body Essay
• Situate author’s opinions in the scientific or critical
context from which they are derived
• Relate his or her opinions to that context
• Pay attention to detail
• Agree and disagree by always providing explanations,
arguments and examples.
• Even though response essays are based on opinion-
making all arguments should be elaborate and
somehow justified !!!
• Provide objective and critical information rather than a
set of personal impressions.
• Express your own opinion and support it by any
evidence there is.
Vocabulary / Useful Phrases
My Reaction to What I Just Read Is That . . .
I think that
• I see that
• I feel that
• It seems that
• In my opinion,
• A good quote is
• In addition,
• For example,
• In conclusion,