A Guide on How to Write a Reaction Paper to a Documentary

A Guide on How to Write a Reaction Paper to a Documentary

An introduction on how to write a reaction paper to a documentary

Are you interested in knowing how to write a reaction paper to a documentary? First things first, what is a reaction paper? The intention of a reaction paper is to give students the chance to respond to and think about a text in a manner that is meaningful and organized.

Also, writing a reaction paper gives you practice in critically and concisely evaluating the position held by someone else on an issue that is important yet debatable.

The main idea while writing a reaction paper is juxtaposing the positions and address that are expressed in the text against the ones you hold. However, this does not mean the focus of the paper is solely on points you do not agree with. You can also agree with the approach used in the text.

Assignments on reaction papers vary from one teacher to another and though this is the case, there are general guidelines on how to write a reaction paper to a documentary. Among the best sample reaction papers to a documentary you can look at is the paper on “Addicted to Plastic” found at unlearningtonotspeak.com.

6 simple steps on how to write a reaction paper to a documentary

Knowing how to write a reaction paper to a documentary does not require any rocket science knowledge. With these simple guidelines, you can write an impressive reaction paper within the shortest possible timeline:

First step: Provide documentary details

  • Write the documentary’s title
  • Specify the intended audience

Second step: Expound the purpose of the documentary

  • Always make sure you expound on the purpose served by the documentary
  • There is always a main message that is supposed to be passed across to an audience in a documentary. Highlight what the message in your selected documentary is.

Third step: If you had prior knowledge on the documentary subject, state the same

  • Before watching the documentary, did you have prior knowledge about the topic?
  • What are some of the highlights you expected to see in the documentary?
  • What kind of questions did you have regarding the topic?

Fourth step-Summarize

  • State what the subject of the documentary is
  • Highlight the main events in the documentary if there are any as well as what the documentary is all about.
  • State where the documentary was filmed

Fifth step: Discuss the camera work, sound effects, special effects and interviews

  • Indicate whether or not you liked sound effects used
  • Were there any sharp images?
  • What are some of the camera angles used and is the filming good?
  • Are the interviews impressive and what lessons have you gleaned from them?
  • Are there special effects used in the documentary?

Sixth step: State personal recommendation and comments

  • Indicate the section of the documentary you liked the most
  • What have you learned from the documentary?
  • Is there anything that came as a surprise to you?
  • Are there any drawbacks connected to the documentary?
  • Would you endorse that your friends watch the documentary?

Simple instructions on how to write a reaction paper to a documentary

With these instructions on how to write a reaction paper to a documentary, the process will be simple and stress free.

  • Watch the documentary you are going to write about paying close attention to all the details. You should take notes regarding the position of the documentary writer in relation to the topic and determine whether they are biased. As you watch the documentary, ask yourself if you are in agreement with the position taken by the author and whether there is sound judgment in the position they have taken. The notes you take should be general and you should highlight aspects that stand out regarding the documentary.
  • From the documentary, pick 5 to 10 evidence pieces that stand out. Bear in mind that generally, reaction papers are supposed to be short and your reaction paper to a documentary should not be any different.
  • Write an accurate and brief summary regarding the documentary in the first paragraph of the paper. This should basic information in the documentary such as the title of the documentary the date it was produced and the name of the documentary writer. Briefly, describe the position held by the writer of the documentary.
  • Evaluation of the documentary should be done in your second paragraph. In this case, the goal is demonstrating you have clearly understood the documentary and you prove this by listing specific examples. State the position held by the documentary’s author and then proceed to state your own position. You can either choose to agree or disagree. Make sure you refer to the notes taken while watching the documentary. As you write a reaction paper to a documentary note that it’s good to have examples that are closely related.
  • Conclude the paper by writing a summary of your position regarding the documentary.
  • Edit the paper before you deliver it for purposes of accuracy and clarity. Ensure every paragraph is logically related to the one preceding it. If possible, you have the option of putting the paper away for a day or two before you proofread it. This will make sure you notice omissions and mistakes that might have escaped your attention initially.

How to write a reaction paper to a documentary – things to remember

Sometimes, writing a reaction paper to a documentary can prove to be more than you can handle. This is especially true if you have to spend long hours watching the documentary yet you are running short on time. In case you lose focus of the steps highlighted above, you can also use this tentative structure to complete your paper:

  • State the major idea, claim or goal of the documentary you have seen. You are supposed to highlight your thoughts about it in a brief manner. This is important as it helps in announcing what you are going to do next.
  • Identify a couple of moves that are argumentative in the documentary. Ideally, these should include those you consider as most important. Discuss what the director of the documentary aims to achieve and the evidence they have provided.
  • In the course of every step, you are supposed to write your own thoughts regarding what the documentary is all about. Support the position you take by using evidence and argument.
  • Wrap things up by writing a conclusion which should include what you have learned or acquired from the documentary.

Follow the following link at webspace.ship.edu for a sample paper that will help you know how to write a reaction paper to a documentary. The sample contains a summary of the text and personal reaction of what has being learned aspects that make it an ideal example.

You can also check out another reaction paper sample at slideshare.net.

In summary

In summary, you can break down the process of writing your documentary reaction paper into two:


  • Watching the documentary and jotting down ideas
  • Determining how you feel regarding the documentary
  • Are you in agreement or disagreement with the view taken in the documentary?
  • Does the evidence provided in the documentary support statements made by the author?


  • First, write your thesis statement
  • Make a decision on the key points you intend to focus the paper on. These can be your preferred topic sentences
  • Develop ideas by adding details, quotations and examples to the paragraphs
  • Ensure the last sentence of every paragraph leads to the next one
  • Check the thesis and ensure the topic sentence of every paragraph is in support of it.

Its our hope that from the above guidelines you no know how to write a reaction paper to a documentary with ease. However if you are still finding it a challenge please get in touch with us for assistance.

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