Reaction Paper Guidelines Format: Each paper is 3-5 pages short (not counting the title page and references),
double-spaced, with margins of 1 inch, and with APA-style (or other preferred style)
Topics: A reaction paper features your intellectual reaction to an article from the health
policy literature. (For example, you could do a search for a particular keyword with
CINAHL) Either way, you start by thinking about which issues in class or the textbook
have fascinated, bothered, or puzzled you. Then you find an article that goes into depth
related to that issue.
Your goal is to tell me very clearly and concisely what the article accomplished. Did it
provide interesting new results on a controversial issue? Did it introduce a new theory?
Did it integrate several old models? You may spend about 1-2 pages on this summary
and explanation of the article. The summary should be clear and interesting to anybody
else in class, whether the person has read that article or not. In the second part of your
paper (2-3 pages) you go beyond your summary — critique the article; praise its subtle
methodological approach; propose a follow-up study; point out relevant other studies or
findings (from your textbook, from lecture); apply the results to real life; or discuss
When expressing your own intellectual reaction, you must back up your claims (e.g., with
arguments, compelling examples, or literature you read). In particular, when you
critique an article, be sure to be fair in your criticism — anticipate an opponent’s
arguments and try to refute them. Also, when you apply a theoretical principle to an
everyday situation, explain exactly how the principle helps us understand the everyday
situation you selected.
All papers must be short and to the point. So tell me what you are planning to do in the
first paragraph. Then, in the remaining pages, implement this plan. Also, make your
paper interesting– I want to learn from you.
Write well. Avoid wordiness. Avoid typical grammatical and word-choice mistakes.
Look for help in a style manual. The reaction paper is due the last week of class, and
should be turned in on GA View. I will grade on the following criteria:
1. Punctuation, grammar.
2. Sentence length and structure: Is the sentence too long? Redundant? Would
regrouping of words or clauses help?
3. Word choice: The goal is to find the simplest word that best describes your idea.
Pay close attention to the use of technical terms: is the term necessary, would a
commonly used word be more suitable? Is the term used correctly? 4. Logic of thought: Are the arguments clearly presented and convincing? Do
conclusions follow from their premises? Are too many assumptions left
5. Content: Does the paper have a clear topic, a point, a message? Or are you just
rambling? Do the paragraphs speak to the general topic and do they form a
coherent and logical order? Does the summary part tell you what the original
article really did or are you confused? Is the reaction part truly an intellectual
reaction or is it just a continued summary?
Grading. You can earn up to 100 points for your total effort.