How to Write a Reaction Paper in APA Format

How to Write a Reaction Paper in APA Format

If you are a scholar or a student, you should know how to write a reaction paper in APA format. A reaction paper refers to an assignment that requires you to react to a journal article, a book or a movie that you have read or watched-

Basically, it is a response to a prompt. The prompt can even be a current event, a media material or a question. Usually, instructors ask students to write reaction papers as a way of teaching them to evaluate research critically and also to synthesize current materials alongside their course material.

In most cases, instructors require reaction papers to be written in the APA format. The APA format’s basis is the American Psychological Association and its accepted format for writing higher education materials is accepted in most universities and colleges. APA format for writing academic materials has been in use from the 1920s. Basically, all the APA format requires is that the writer acknowledges the used sources-

A guide on how to write a reaction paper in APA format

  1. Understand the assignment

A reaction paper requires you to give your critical thoughts about a topic or work. Everybody can think about something. However, being a student or a scholar your thinking level is expected to be higher. Therefore, study the assignment carefully to know how exactly you are required to react or to respond. If you do not understand, seek clarification from the teacher or lecturer-

  1. Study the work

Study the material that you are required to give your reaction to carefully. As you study the work, react to it by giving your opinion. If it is a text, synthesize it. This means you bring together information from the work, analyze it and then evaluate it. Take time to read and understand the work beyond the surface. Digest what you read so that you can put your ideas together.

While studying the work, ask these questions:

  • What is your opinion about the work?
  • What can you disagree or agree with?
  • How better can the work be evaluated?
  • Is the depicted situation identifiable with?

Ensure that your responses remain in mind or note them somewhere as you study the work-

  1. Write your reactions immediately

While studying the work, note down your first reactions for every section. Keep doing it until you complete studying the work. Your reactions should indicate how you feel, see or what it seems or your opinion about the work. Also annotate the work while studying it. Annotating the work in its margins enables you to locate quotations, character developments, plot lines or reactions with ease. Failing to annotate the work will make writing a cohesive and coherent reaction paper difficult-

  1. Pre-write the paper

At this stage, you bring together the notes that you have taken while studying the work. If you are reading a book with several chapters, summarize the notes for each chapter using your words and then combine the notes for all chapters. Compile the notes in such a way that anybody reading them will understand what the author of a book or work is trying to say and if you disagree or agree with them. At this step, you simply free-write on the basis of what you have studied.

  1. Decide on the angle to take

Your reaction paper must be critical and an evaluation of the studied work. If not, it is simply a summary of the studied work. Therefore, you must decide on the writing angle to take after studying the work. Consider what the author of the work is saying, the structure of the work as well as how it relates to the reality in the world.

  1. Come up with a thesis of your reaction paper

After free-writing and deciding on the angle to take, shape your paper into a concrete argument. For instance, ask yourself if there is something interesting that you can say regarding the work that you have studied. Tell your readers what makes what you say interesting or important. A thesis is very important because it is the basis or core of your paper. If you have different opinions, observations or points, combine them so that they can form a single claim that will be supported by the rest of the reaction paper.

  1. Actual writing

When writing the paper, you need to select the most interesting and important ideas that you can respond to. This is very important because it might be impossible to respond to all ideas of the work. For instance, an author can be cynical about the human nature in a work. On the contrary, your thought might be that humans are more responsible and reflective. You might even have evidence to prove that it is not easy to mislead humans. In that case, you should illustrate this in your reaction paper. Since you are writing a reaction paper in APA format, include quotations as your evidence or support for your points. You can use in-text citations to provide evidence for your argument. Use the annotations to get quotations that support your argument.

What to point out in a reaction paper

Anybody who knows how to write a reaction paper in APA format will point out some of the following aspects in their reaction paper:

  • How the work needs qualifying or challenging
  • How the work is ambiguous, unclear or contradictory
  • How the work fails to address certain important issues or problems
  • How a work is impractical or irrelevant in some ways
  • How a work misses some critical points
  • How the studied work overly simplifies problems or issues
  • How the studied work does not answer a question, puzzle or mystery
  • How other theories or authors contradict the studied work

One or more of these aspects that are pointed out in a reaction paper are found in the introductory paragraph of a reaction paper. They also help in unifying or organizing the paper.

Parts of the reaction paper

  • Introduction

The introduction of your reaction paper should identify the main themes of the work that you are responding to as well as your reaction to it.

  • Body

The body of a reaction paper should address the areas of disagreement and agreement systematically while giving facts, examples and reasons. It should be detailed and specific with evidence that connects to the main theme. While reacting to several articles or books, you can contrast and compare authors on the basis of the main theme. Remember that you must always cite pages while using specific quotes and ideas because you are writing in APA format. Personal beliefs are valid when writing a reaction paper. However, you must support them with logic and facts. For instance, if you say, “Death penalty should be abolished”, you must support this with a logical and factual argument that will compel readers into agreeing with you.

  • Conclusion

In the conclusion, summarize your ideas and reaction to the studied work. The summarized ideas should be about the work, its implications as well as who should study it.

Ensure that your reaction paper adheres to the standards of APA format

While writing an APA format reaction paper, make sure that your paper:

  • Has perfect grammar and spelling

This implies that you should grammar-check and spell-check your paper after writing it.

  • Is formatted in APA style

Use the standard citation style anytime you refer to other people’s work, ideas or use quotations. Every time you paraphrase any source or quote it directly, ensure that the source is cited in your reaction paper. Also include a reference list for all sources that you cited in your paper. This implies that any source that is included in the reference list must be indicated in the reaction paper’s body. Note that the reference list should be the next page after the paper and references should be listed alphabetically. Follow the APA format manual while formatting your paper-

  • Is double-spaced and typed with a one-inch standard margin.
  • Make sure that your work is organized properly from the introduction to the conclusion-
  • Reference personal communication in the reaction paper’s body. For instance, “K. Bear (personal communication, March 1, 2007), noted that…”
  • For online sources, try to get author’s name, revision or posting date, source title, project name and retrieval statement and include them in the reference.

Writing a response paper towards any work becomes easy when you have a guide on how to write a reaction paper in APA format. Once you have written the paper, go through it to ensure that it adheres to the APA format standards.

We hope that from the above guidelines you will not have challenges in writing a reaction paper in APA format.

However if you are still finding it a challenge get in touch with us today for assistance in writing a reaction paper in APA format or any other style or visit our homepage for more information about our custom writing services. Alternatively you can continue reading more essay writing guidelines and samples on our blog.

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