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Reaction Papers


Course readings present an important and necessary supplement to our lectures and discussions. This assignment aims to help you develop greater understandings on course materials by seriously and intellectually engaging with these reading materials. Specifically, this assignment requires you to:

Read and reflect on readings prior to class;Review and critique scholarly writings;Bring the required readings into dialogue with other course materials;Summarize and present your thoughts and opinions.

General Guidelines

Throughout the course of our class, you will write two reaction papers to two different course readings picked by you. Each reaction paper is about 800 words in length (2-3 pages, double-spaced, 1-inch margins, 12-point Times New Roman font).

Select Readings

Within the first week of the class, you will browse the titles and abstracts of course readings. By the second week of the class, you should decide which two readings you would like to write reaction papers on.

Write Reaction Papers

As you read through and critically engage with the reading materials, provide reflective reviews that summarize and critique the readings in your own words.

Reaction Paper Guidelines:

§  Introduction: Introduce the overall topic of the article.

o   Example: The article is about…; The general question is….

§  Context: Describe the specific context within which the study is based. This could be a debate or a gap in previous studies, a historical or recent event, and a topic from lecture.

o   Example: The study is based on the context of XXX; The topic is related to lecture discussions on XXX.

§  Main Arguments: Summarize the general themes, key points and arguments in the article. You should also present the evidences and examples used by the author(s) in order to explain how and why the author(s) come to the conclusions.

§  Critiques: Discuss your opinion about the reading and evaluation of the work’s strengths and weaknesses. These could be about the topic, the arguments and the examples. You could start with the general contribution of the article to your understanding on the topic and then dive into the specific strengths and weaknesses.

o   Example: The article contributes to my understanding on XXX; The arguments are (not) well-presented because XXX; There are flaws/ contradictions/ constraints in the argument as XXX; what are the other things you would hope the author(s) have investigated.  

§  Conclusion: End the paper by making a final statement about the reading and your evaluation.


§  2-3 pages long

§  Double-spaced

§  1-inch margins

§  12-point Times New Roman font

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