How to Write a Response Essay in Leadership Studies: Learn the Basics

Writing guide
Posted on August 31, 2020

What is a response essay or report? There may be several definitions of this type of paper when you surf the Internet. But, the main answer is that it is your response or reaction to any written material such as book, article, story. It is not a rare event when professors assign students to write their opinion on videos related to the subject. So, it will be a kind of a thesis where you need to explain your attitude to the matter. However, it does not seem so easy, a student has always to remember about academical requirements such as stylistic patterns of language and grammatical features.

Those who have succeeded in writing other types of essays say a response paper greatly improves their critical thinking and they felt themselves, reviewers. But, Leadership Studies may hide some pitfalls, especially when selecting an interesting topic.

How to Write a Response Essay in Leadership Studies: Define Your Goal

Having such an assignment at hand may become a challenge if you start thinking about its purpose. Some students may say it is useless because there are plenty of reviews online on different subjects and they can just copy them. Others look for a topic that has never been researched before but they may lack evidence or facts to support their opinion. First off, choose your goal.

A response paper can be a true assistant in practicing your writing. You develop critical thinking, you learn how to prove the authors’ points. Besides, you study how to evaluate someone’s work without being biased. For example, such a matter as Modern Leadership allows researching what skills and habits of people may lead others or even rule the countries or societies.

Then, it is a kind of preparation for other written assignments. Do you plan to apply for a scholarship? Free tuition to the educational institution of your dream may be a target that is hard to accomplish. A response paper helps to possess a knowledge of persuasion. Usually, universities do not look solely at grammar or spelling of the words, they pay attention to the creativity of their applicants and they for sure want to be persuaded why exactly you are the right candidate.

At last, it radically helps to pursue a career. Leadership Studies and their practical skills are found in any organization. So, you have to show how you professionally evaluate others and how you can improve some factors for better.

All in all, a response paper will be an indicator of your obtained knowledge in the courses or classes.

How to Write a Response Essay in Leadership Studies: Structure Matters

Repetition is the mother of learning? Yes, the same as preparation is the mother of succeeding. According to educational requirements, this stage is crucial to avoid missed deadlines but submit accomplished and stellar projects. Your research on a response report should start with selecting the topic.

Do you have any ideas? Usually, a supervisor may assign you to write your response to one work otherwise there is a syllabus that lists the topics. If both options are not available, spend some time thinking about your final choice. For instance, check your studying materials, there should be the names of subjects you will study during the semester. After acknowledging them, you can find a related book or article. For your convenience, here is an approximate guide to the most suitable subjects for your essay.

  1. Leaders of today. Here your imagination and creativity can go wild. Who are the most influencing people of our decade? Steve Jobs with his Apple, Elon Musk with his Space X and Tesla, or Donald Trump who lost everything but then gained twice much. There are many biographies about such leaders and you can take one for your response paper.
  2. Leadership Affect. To not beat about the bush, refer to the actual news found in journals or magazines. There take an article and start researching it.
  3. Business materials. Any business or company has its leaders and their approaches. Accordingly, you may also turn to business journals where writers speak of the skills inherent to any influencing boss.
  4. Ted platform. It is a depository of the most informative articles and videos where leaders or researchers tell about their experience or knowledge. To not fail, choose one video and ask your professor if it is valid or relevant to your subject.
  5. Historical Leadership. And, with this topic, you can easily refer to the materials of History discipline. For instance, find articles about Greeks or the Roman Empire, and find out how the authors emphasize the ruling of that time.
  6. Leadership at Schools. Materials on how to raise kids as leaders or what skills teachers try to motivate developing within them are posted on many educational or even governmental websites. Besides, this topic can be fastly accepted because most researchers are accomplished professors, psychologists, and teachers. By the way, check maybe your supervisor has his articles that you want to write a reaction to. He will be surprised but the evaluation will be stricter.

One more tip for lazybones is to look for ready samples or examples of response essays in Leadership Studies online. There are many sources that post A-grade works. Keep in mind, it does not mean you have to steal the work or completely copy it. Such intentions are fast captivated with plagiarism programs, or professors can type the first sentence in Google and discover the ready essay. You will not only receive F grade but may disappoint your professor and he will punish you with a more complicated and bigger assignment.

As far as this type of paper does not require students to conduct research on a particular matter, this stage may help to understand the main points and ideas of the author. For instance, if your topic is a response to a book by Walter Isaacson – Steve Jobs, during its reading you should highlight the main points or quotes for further arguing with them or agreeing. It can be a quote dealing with a background of Steve, and you may then evaluate it as per modern requirements to education in the IT-sphere. Or, compare it to your personal experience when you wanted to apply for a part-time job and one or another skill was a must.

During this stage, you can also create an outline. Of course, it will be an approximate sketch but you will have a clean-cut scheme for all the details.

Keep in mind, introduction in a response paper will need particular features compared to other assignments. The first sentence will encompass the title of the article or book, its author, and if there are, information on the publisher, publishing date. The second sentence, as usual, will be dedicated to the thesis or hook where you have to make your reader interested in your work. And, the last one will serve as a transition to the main body. Note, the introduction consists of no more than 5 sentences and by no means, you have a right to reveal your reaction or opinion. If so, there is no sense in reading it.

Main Body
React to the reading material. Do not be scared to indicate your personal opinion. This essay is written in the first person so an obligatory rule of using a third person successfully avoided in this case. All your opinions, reactions should be supported by evidence. It helps to avoid sentimental judgments and makes your work unbiased. For instance, you can attach the experience of your life how leadership made you stronger and attach a quote from the work. After that, you can dedicate one-two sentences to explain whether you agree or disagree with the author. But, make sure one paragraph is focused on one idea only.

As per structure, do not try to impress a supervisor with a lengthy text. 3 subparagraphs are enough.

The final part is only for summarizing the results researched above. No new information but an overall reaction to the work. This paragraph should not be longer than 200-250 words. In the end, you can also attach a rhetorical question, so that your reader will have food for thought.

Post Writing Tips for a Response Essay in Leadership Studies

At this point, a student can ask himself whether he revealed everything he wanted. But, to be confident before submitting work, it is necessary to check some features. Here is a list of helpful tips that will deprive you of disappointment or failure.

  • Were you concise? This question you can answer after calculating the number of words. As far as a paper should be no more than 800 words, comply with this rule. Also, take a look at the length of your sentences, they should not be long and contain more that one reaction. Put yourself in the shoes of the reader, and ask yourself How many times have you got puzzled in the middle of a long sentence?. For the top results, it is better to not exceed the limit of 10 words unless it is a quote or citation.
  • Vulgarism, slang or cliches. Even though Leadership Studies is not so strict discipline, avoid using modern language. First of all, it does not give you value, then it does not look professional. Again, the exception is the author’s style and you want to cite it.
  • Spelling or grammatical mistakes? Do not be too confident when rereading your text. Sometimes, students tend to leave a paper for some hours or days if possible. Afterward, they have a clear mind and can spot the mistakes from the first time. Otherwise, there is one more helpful solution, online editors. You can attach there a text and a system will highlight what you need to correct. Or, some services help to understand the rate of readability. Do not forget about auxiliary words.
  • Seek help among graduates. Again, this tip can help when you constantly hesitate about the relevance of your work. For instance, some professors may cut down the grade when there are not a sufficient number of supporting clues or your reaction seem biased. Upon requesting graduates to check your essay, ask them to tell true feedback about the relevance or even sense and logic.

You are almost done! A few final observations and you can rest assured there will be no mistakes.

How to Write a Response Paper in Leadership Studies: Final Recommendations

For the perfectionists who cannot help but rereading their work, it is worth organizing some final exercises. It does not mean going to the gym or swimming but creating particular situations. Let’s imagine you are a reviewer and you need to host a big audience, it can be your friends or relatives. Or, you always can rely on the mirror. Take your essay and start delivering it. Some students claim it helps to understand on their own whether they interest a public or they can make fall asleep it only.

Then, upload your work online in specialized service where other students from different countries post their opinions. Do not always rely on criticism but listen to recommendations and think about their sincerity. Another way is to check someone’s work and compare it to your own. The main rule is to not copy if the topic coincides, it again leads to the plagiarism.

And, finally, take a look at your references if you attached them. Any professor will appreciate if a student uses educational materials found in the library or even if you ask his works. If your references are only from the online sources it may affect somehow the grade.

Perhaps, most importantly is to possess enough time. Do not leave your response paper for the last day. Learn time management techniques or find out the Pomodoro strategies. If you are stuck and lack some ideas and it makes you procrastinate, organize intervals such as a break every 25 minutes. Drink a lot of water or if it is possible write in the fresh air. Avoid distractions such as social networks or games. If you still did not know, there are many applications for a mobile phone that block some programs for some time. Thus, you do not receive calls or notifications and you can be fully concentrated on writing. Follow these tips, and your paper will be perfectly evaluated.


  • How to Write a Reader Response. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  • Riggio, R. E., & Harvey, M. (2011). Leadership Studies: The Dialogue of Disciplines. Gloucestershire, IN: Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • SAMPLE RESPONSE PAPERS. (n.d.). Retrieved from
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