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Reaction or Response Papers

Some professors assign what they call a "mini-paper that responds to the week’s readings." Here are some useful comments/guidelines from one professor on her expectations for this assignment:

  • Must be one to two pages long
  • Will be evaluated for clarity and thoughtfulness. The more thorough the paper, the better the grade.
  • The purpose of these papers is to encourage your active engagement with the readings and to provide a foundation for class discussions.
  • Intended as writing exercises. You should become accustomed to expressing ideas in written form.
  • Papers should address a question of the your choice. Here are some examples of questions you might address in a response paper:
    • What was the most interest part of the reading? Explain why.
    • Did something strike you as odd? Try to understand what it was doing there.
    • Is there any part of the reading that was not understood? Use this writing assignment to try to figure it out.
    • How does it relate to class discussion from a previous week?
    • Compare some aspect of the current reading assignment with a previous one.
    • Choose a quotation from the reading and analyze it closely.