APA Response Paper Format: How to Write a Response Paper in APA

A response paper is an essay that gives you the chance to communicate and analyze your understanding and point of view of a specific idea from a given text. There are three types of response papers:

  • Agree/disagree response
  • Interpretive/reflective response
  • Analytic/evaluative response

To craft an ideal response paper, you must be an effective summarizer, organizer, and paraphraser. Additionally, have excellent transitions and arguments.

Although you can use various formats to craft your response paper, the most common one is APA. The following article will shed light on the APA response paper format and some important points to consider when writing one.

How do you write a response paper in APA format?

Most professors insist that you must write a response paper in APA style (American Psychological Association.) There are specific guidelines that you must follow to write in this style successfully. The format is different from MLA, and if you haven’t had the chance to use it, you should practice it before beginning.

Below are the basic guidelines you should follow to achieve APA response paper format:

  1. Title page

The title page acts as the cover of your paper. It gives your readers the first impression. It should, therefore, contain the most vital information like the article’s topic, the name of your institution, your name, and the names of co-authors.

The title page in APA format is the first page. Indicate it at the center of the first sheet. Observe double spacing between the lines.

Also check: Do Colleges Check Every Essay for Plagiarism?

Include a running head at the top of every title page (if using APA 6th Edition) APA 7th edition does not require a running head. The words running head must proceed with the main title, while on the other pages, only the title will get featured in the running head.

  1. Abstract

Design a small abstract summary that outlines the paperwork details. It should be right after the first page and on the center of the sheet. Don’t use quotation marks, italics, or underlining.

The abstract should be one paragraph with double spacing and should be around 150-200 words.

  1. Main body

The actual essay. Ensure you include an introduction, methods, results, and discussions. Choose a specific font and maintain it throughout the paper. Ensure readability by using fonts like Arial and Times New Roman.

Each paragraph in the main body should address a particular idea. Provide examples and relevant sources.

  1. References

List all the sources you have used to write your response paper on your resources page. Place the word reference at the center of its page and do not bold it. Outline the references in alphabetical order, ensuring you flush-left the second line of every reference.

Although you will list the references on a separate page, you must also incorporate in-text citations. It also includes any pictures or tables.

Writing in APA format for a first-timer can be overwhelming, but if you start by breaking it down into small manageable steps, it becomes easier. With time you perfect the art of crafting good papers using the style.

Look for sites that feature introductions and main body examples with supporting references for your thesis that leads to a proven conclusion.

  1. Using quotations in APA

Your response paper should be authentic and plagiarism-free. It is, therefore, vital to incorporate citations and format them accordingly. Indicate the author and source’s date. Add quotation marks if you use sentences that have less than 40 words.

Also check: Really Struggling to Write an Essay? Tips To Get You Started

When writing a response paper, follow these guidelines:

  • Prewriting activities – mark important sections that you may wish to address. Write your main ideas on a piece of paper.
  • Decide on a topic
  • Start the writing process with an introductory paragraph
  • Explain the key points in the body of the response paper
  • Write the conclusion.

Does a reaction paper require a title?

Yes, a reaction paper requires a title. It is one of the basics requirements in APA. Ensure the essay has a running head at the top (if using APA 6th edition).

How do you start a reaction paper?

Start your reaction paper by providing a relevant title. You should begin with one concise sentence which forms the thesis (focused statement of the reaction). The thesis will then guide the general direction that the paper will take.

Having a thesis is important as it will form the backbone of the response essay and all your points in the essay should be supporting the thesis.

What is a response paper?

It is a short essay that outlines a writer’s view of a book, newspaper, journal, or any content that they have read. It is an assignment given to students after reading a certain number of articles. It features:

  • Introduction where the focus of the response gets stated
  • The body – the writer examines several issues
  • The conclusion – sums up the argument

You may or may not provide external sources, depending on the guidelines from your professor.


The above article enlightens you on the APA response paper format. Perfecting the style requires regular exercise. Note that a response paper is not a review, and you are not supposed to give a value statement on the topic under discussion. It is a critical analysis of a definite aspect of several texts.