A Basic Manual On How To Write A Response Paper

When students have classes with a significant amount of reading, they often are assigned response papers. Unfortunately for those students, their instructors rarely explain how to write a response paper. This leaves students worrying about their grades until they are able to figure out what their instructors want after receiving feedback on a few pieces written earlier in the course. Hopefully, this quick manual will help you successfully complete your next response paper:

Answer the question: The first step to completing a response paper is to answer the question the instructor poses. If the instructor is not giving questions, then you can create your own question to respond to in the paper. The answer to the question will be your thesis, which will guide you through the rest of the paper. If your instructor does not provide a question, you can write your chosen question as your title; this way, your instructor will know what you are responding to throughout your paper.

Use your essay writing skills: After you have decided on the answer to the question, you will need to craft an essay by following general essay writing rules. You should have a basic introduction with a thesis that answers the question. You then will want to show in a body paragraph or two how the text affects the answer. Since most instructors are looking for insightful thoughts, the body paragraphs you include should be full of great ideas and plenty of support from the text. The introduction and conclusion should be relatively short, especially if you are only writing two pages or less than that. The body of your paper will be the main focus.

When you write the body of your paper, there are some general rules to follow:

  1. Analyze something worth analyzing, like symbols, figurative language, or themes.
  2. Do not write whether you like a character or not, but discuss why the character was so likeable or not.
  3. Use examples, like actual quotes, from the reading passages.
  4. Do not be obvious. Your instructor wants to see you come up with a new idea that cannot already be found online.
  5. Use ideas discussed in class, but come up with something new rather than rehashing ideas other students created.
  6. Follow the rules of writing with proper grammar and mechanics as well as in-text citations using the format your instructor requires.