Reaction papers

This page is meant to help you write reaction papers. The point of writing them is to give you some practice in evaluating – concisely and critically – someone’s position on an important but debatable issue.

How to write it: watch the film; stop when you think something important is said; take notes; stop when you think something wrong is said; take notes; try to decide on what were the main and/or the most interesting ideas; write down in 2-3 sentences your concluding thoughts on those ideas.

Here is a tentative structure for your reaction paper:

  • State the main goal, idea or claim of the film you’ve seen. Say very briefly what you think about it. This announces what you do next.
  • Identify a few argumentative moves in the material – the ones you consider most important. What is the director aiming at? What is the evidence?
  • At each step, write down your thoughts about what is said. Support your position with argument and evidence.
  • Wrap up with a concluding thought. Overall, what did the film do for you?

If the above doesn’t really help you, search for ‘reaction papers’ on any search engine. Here’s an example link. And a sample reaction paper.

See also these pages:

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