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Summary/Reaction Assignment

Summary -- Reaction Paper

Ordinarily, if your instructor asks you to write a summary of something you've read, it is to help you to clarify what you read and to enable the instructor to determine whether you've understood it. Because this kind of assignment is limited to presenting others' ideas, an instructor will often combine it with a reaction assignment, to find out what your opinion is. In a reaction paper, usually after you have stated the author's main ideas and main supporting evidence, you state your own responses to those ideas, backing them up with your own evidence and thinking. In many cases your instructor is expecting a particular kind of reaction, for example, a statement of whether you agree or disagree with the text and your reasons. Find out the specific expectations.

Suggestions for Writing Summaries

The following is a reading-writing process that works for many students when summarizing thesis-support articles. You can adapt it for longer and different kinds of texts and to your own process, with guidance from your professor.

  1. Clarify the assignment - Know what process of thought is typically expected in summary papers. If they are not provided, ask for a model of what is expected and/or for guidelines, especially how long the summary should be in relation to the original.
  2. Read
    • Read the article all the way through without marking it, looking for the question the author is addressing and the answer the author is developing in response to the question (the thesis or main point).
    • After you finish, write down one sentence that captures the main point of the article. Ordinarily you should be able to begin it with, "It is true that...." If you have trouble with this, write down the central question or issue the article addresses. It is usually easier to see the thesis after you do this.
    • Look back at the article to see if you can find the thesis stated explicitly. Does this correspond to what you wrote? If not, look at the article again or reread if necessary until you feel fairly certain about the main point.
    • Now read the article again, marking the main points supporting the thesis and noting how the main points are tied together logically. The basic argument of thesis-support writing might be described as something like "This is true because and because and because and .... But another argument will be functioning as well. Look for the bare bones of this argument (such patterns as 'and/and/and/and' or 'and/but/but/nevertheless/so' or 'since/since/since/therefore' or 'based on this evidence/this evidence/this evidence'...and so on).
  3. Write
    • Begin by citing the title, author, and source of the article.
    • State the thesis in your own words and then, in your own words, as succinctly as possible describe each major point that supports the thesis, explaining the bare bones of the argument. Do not insert your own opinion anywhere.
    • Read your first draft outloud. Check for important omissions and unnecessary information and details. Check to see if it all makes sense. Check for length. If you did not follow the first step, you can use the general guideline that a summary should be no longer than one-fourth the length of the original. Cross out unnecessary words and note loosely constructed sentences.
    • Revise in response to your notes on the first draft, tightening your writing.
    • Once you believe your summary is pretty much together, ask someone to read it critically. See if your reader understands the basic points of the article after reading your summary.
    • After making changes based on your reader's critique, edit and proofread.
    • Give yourself time before handing in your paper to look at it fresh, again checking for errors.

Suggestions for Writing Reaction Papers

  1. Clarify the assignment. Know what kind of thinking is typically expected in a [Reaction] paper. Ask for specific models or guidelines if they are not provided. Does your professor want a formal reaction paper, using the thesis-support form? Or is a more informal reaction expected? If informal, should you write an informal essay or just do journal writing?

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Tips for Writing a Good Reaction Paper

The main aim of this article is to give students a chance to understand what is a reaction paper and to explain how to complete it without any efforts. A reaction paper is a type of written assignment, which requires personal opinion and conclusions on a given article or abstract. Unlike a summary, a reaction paper should contain your own thoughts on the problem, discussed in the original text. It aims to show professor how deep your understanding of the situation is and how well you can use your analytical skills.

The first part of your paper should contain information on the author and the topic. You need to write down the main ideas and highlight the main points of the paper. You can use direct quotations if needed. Avoid your personal opinion in this section. The second part should contain your personal thoughts on the subject. Focus on a main problem or address all of them and describe your opinion. Explain how the material can relate to the modern world, to the society or separate individuals. Back your statements with sources if needed and make conclusions whether you support the author or not.

Writing a reaction paper can be quite a challenging task, so many students use examples to learn more about its structure and key features. Here are a few recommendations, which will help you complete an outstanding reaction paper:

  • Read the original article carefully and highlight the main ideas and points you want to discuss;
  • Describe your point of view and back it with additional information if needed. Use vivid examples;
  • Use various sources to make your statement more argumentative.

There are also a few tips, which will help you to avoid common mistakes. First, don’t give a summary of an article. You should perform your personal opinion, not an overview. You should always back your ideas with examples. However, avoid using examples, which are difficult to relate to the topic. With the help of these simple rules, you will learn how to write a reaction paper and will be able to create an outstanding work!

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Samples and Examples of Reaction Paper

Nowadays it is impossible to find a student, who is capable of completing all the tasks without anyone’s help. Because of a heavy workload and tight schedules additional help may be more than useful, so let's continue to simplify your studying. While many students don’t have a chance to order a paper or want to create it on their own, using online samples can be a great way out. They can help students get an overall idea on the subject, structure and main tips. By downloading a sample, you will learn how to write reaction paper and avoid common mistakes.

You will also be able to shape your ideas in an appropriate form and emphasize the strongest points of your paper, while omitting those, which lack examples and support.

Reaction paper format

Formatting gives every student a chance to create an outstanding paper, using previous experience and a clear plan of actions. With the help of such an outline, you will be able to see how the paper will look like and will be able to go from one paragraph to another smoothly. Usually you will have specific information on the size of the paper, so a plan will be of a great help.

A reaction paper consists of four main parts:

  1. Introduction;
  2. Body;
  3. Conclusions;
  4. List of citations and sources.

Reaction Essays Examples

Reaction Paper Example

Reaction Paper Format

Reaction Paper Sample

Reaction Paper Samples

Reaction Paper Template

Introduction section is the face of your paper, so you need to pay extra attention to this part to gain interest of the reader. Here you should describe the author and the paper you are analyzing, the main ideas and problems you are going to discuss. You should write at least three-four sentences about the original text and close the introduction section with your thesis, which will be discussed later in the paper. Make sure your statement is brief and straight to the point, because you will need to get back to it over and over again throughout your paper.

The second part of the paper is where the real work begins. You need to write down your thoughts on the main ideas of the paper, backed with appropriate quotes and sources. Remember to stick to the original article and always get back to it, while providing your personal thoughts. However, you are free to add theoretical information to support your ideas. This section is crucial and should contain a thorough analysis of the obtained data.

Conclusions should be brief and contain information on your thesis and main ideas, which were shaped throughout the work. You can also refer to the target audience and the impact these conclusions may have on the society. The list of citations should contain a brief but structured information on the sources, used in your work.

Writing a reaction paper can be a real challenge, but at the same time it will help you to improve your analytical skills and share your opinion with the world!