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How to Write a Response Paper: Your Full Guide

September 2, 2019
How to Write a Response Paper: Your Full Guide

A response paper is special writing requiring a student to use a personalized approach. It opens some space for your creativity. Here you don’t write automatically sticking to a particular format or structure but express your own thoughts and expressions on the book or article you have read.

The response paper format requires you to write using a professional and impersonal voice. It is a bit different type of essay and a bit different rules are applied to it. In response essay, we write in the first person.

For newbies, it can be quite challenging to write a critical response paper while it requires some experience and skills. Check out our response paper guidelines below to find out how to write your best response paper ever.

What is a Response Paper and How to Start It

If this is your first response paper, you may have no idea of how to compose this assignment. Writing a response paper requires you to learn certain peculiarities first, such as how to express your opinion on a piece of writing. But even before you start, you should learn the difference between a book review and a response paper.

A response paper is often called a reaction essay. It aims to conduct critical analysis and close reading of a given part of the book or article. Its structure is similar to that of other types of essay and includes an introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. Don’t forget that unlike other types of papers, a response paper requires you to write in the first person.

How to Write a Response Paper in College: Top Tips

Your essay has to be structured properly. First of all, a student shouldn’t forget that when working on that paper, you should express your personal attitude to a piece of literature. So your critical analysis will need your individual approach. You should reflect not someone’s but your own vision of the subject based on your perceptions and impressions. Such an approach will guarantee you a high grade. Here are some helpful tips which will make your writing process easier:

  • Response paper outline. Any academic paper will be easier to write if you have a detailed outline. So this is the first thing you should do when starting your work on the response paper, which is to create your well-structured outline. An outline aims to help you organize all your thoughts and ideas. This way, you will not miss anything important.
  • You can check a response paper example online to see how the outline looks in detail. But the most convenient outline is an alphanumeric outline.
  • Do your literary analysis. Before writing your paper, you should do a very thorough analysis of a piece of literature you are going to write about. Once you did that and created an outline, make sure to write a strong introduction. It should be eye-catching and grab the attention of your reader from the very first sentence.
  • A boring introduction will be a failure, so make sure to make it well-written. A thesis statement has to be powerful as well, so don’t neglect it. You can make just a one or two-sentence thesis statement but they should be a hook.
  • Name the book and its author to your readers. This is important information but very often, students are so focused on creating something impressive that hey just forget to mention it. And without this information, your essay doesn’t make any sense. Make sure to write if you agree with the author and explain what you will be talking about.
  • Don’t be afraid to use a response paper example and follow it to come up with your own ideas and stick to the structure. It is better to see once and understand well how a paper should look like.
  • Write an outstanding conclusion while this is the thing your reader will remember, so it should be not less eye-catching than your introduction.

Important Steps When Writing a Response Paper

When working on your response paper, you should do it in several steps. Let’s find out which exactly:

1.     Read your text several times. Before starting to write, browse the given text a couple of times and point out some elements which are more important than others. Make your notes. Don’t try to put them in the right order; they will just help you emphasize the most important points of the book or article.

2.     Pick up your topic. Choosing a topic is one of the most crucial steps while you should do it with special attention. When trying to pick yours, think well whether that topic sounds interesting to you, is that something you are curious about or interested in? Think about what you like or dislike in the text. The topic you write on is to be informative and have lots of points to focus on.

3.     Make sure to have a strong and eye-catching introduction. Remember to use a hook sentence to grab the attention of the audience and make them want to read your paper till the end. Don’t forget to state the focus of your essay in that part.

4.     Body paragraphs. Discuss your subject deeply at that stage. Your ideas should be divided into short and accurate paragraphs. Each time you provide new evidence, make a new paragraph. Every piece of evidence has to flow into your arguments. This essay shouldn’t be short so make sure to provide enough information.

5.     Write a great and smart conclusion. Here, you should summarize everything you have stated in two previous parts. But make sure not to repeat the same, just summarize everything in other words, paraphrase. The conclusion has to be short, unlike the body paragraphs. So try to make those a couple of questions interesting and capturing. This is the last thing which your readers will memorize. Don’t make them disappointed with your conclusion.

6.     Revise and proofread your paper. Your first draft has to be revised and edited. Don’t worry if you find lots of mistakes and things to improve. Everyone makes mistakes and it is good that you can notice them and work on them. Don’t hesitate to ask your parents, friends, or group-mates to read it. Gather the opinion of several different people and make your conclusions. Spelling and punctuation mistakes are not the case so be careful with that.


Unlike some other types of essay, a response paper requires lots of time, skills, and preparation. Make sure to understand what you will focus on in the text you are reading. Read a text several times and make your notes. The writing process has to be well-planned.

All the parts of your response paper are crucial for the success of your paper, so don’t neglect writing each of them with special attention. Every part has to be strong enough to keep your reader interested in intrigued throughout your writing.

And, of course, you should have enough time for every step, don’t procrastinate and wait until the very last day. Devote at least one single day for just proofreading and editing your paper. It is not that difficult to write that type of paper if you use all the above-mentioned tips. But make sure to apply all your creative and writing skills, as well as some analyzing ones. You will need not only to conduct research and find evidence but also express your own opinion on the topic and make a reader interested in it.

If you are not sure to have plenty of time for your writing, you’d better don’t rely on a chance and entrust this responsible task to professionals. Our experts can cope with any task, any paper on any subject. We have created thousands of papers and essays and gained thousands of A-grades for our customers who keep coming back to us for more and more academic papers while they enjoy their students’ life. No sleepless nights, no nerves, and a successful grade on the subject. You can have it all too once you place your order. When your paper is in our hands, you may relax and not worry about failing your subject.