I. The purposes of a response paper can be:
A. To relate your observation of a work or event.
B. To show your personal reaction to a work or event.
C. To demonstrate your ability to validate your response. While your opinion is often the main point of this assignment, your opinion should be supported with explanations and specific detail.
II. Before you begin writing the response paper, you should do the following:
A. Start with your overall impression. Listen to your thoughts. Write them down.
B. Decide what made you feel that way. Draft a paragraph on each idea, and give details and examples to support each point.
C. If you need more material, break up the work or event into its component parts. See list below.*
D. Think about your definite response to any of these components and clarify them in your draft.
E. Determine what caused that response and write supporting details.
III. Your response paper may be expected to contain all or some of the following elements. The Metropolitan State University Writing Center can help you work on any of these areas.
A. A clear statement of the nature of the work or event.
B. A statement of your overall impression.
C. An analysis of the component parts of that impression.
IV. Evaluation: There is no "correct" answer in a response paper. Your response can be either favorable or unfavorable. The main criterion is how well you support your comments. Be careful not to rely merely on vague generalization. Be sure you refer to those specific aspects of the work which produced your response. Many instructors will expect you to follow the steps included in the Revision and Editing Checklists.
*Components of works in various fields:
A. Failure to state your response clearly.
B. Failure to mention what aspects of the work or event affect your response.
C. Failure to show as well as tell. Support your reactions with examples from the work or event so that the reader sees the reason for your response.