Once you have ensured that you understand the material or text that you are writing your response paper in relation to, it is time to either come up with a thesis or an angle. If you are writing a response paper that is only a page or a paragraph, you will not have a formal thesis. Rather, you will have an angle, that is something like a thesis that will indicate how you are focusing on one particular element of what you are responding to. Your angle will guide your response to the text or prompt and will represent the critical thinking that you have completed in relation to the material you are responding to. As long as your angle is coherent and associated with the underlying materials, you will receive a good grade when you write a response paper.
If you are writing a longer form response paper, you will need to make use of a thesis and supporting body paragraphs so as to respond to that which has been assigned to you. These types of longer response papers will require that you follow a traditional essay format in which your thesis is followed by body paragraphs that all provide support for the thesis that you are arguing in favor of. Like with an essay or research paper, your conclusion should offer no new information but should instead represent the space in which you reflect on what you have learned while composing your response paper.
In the end and with response papers involving you sharing your personal opinion about what you have been assigned to write about, they sometimes involve the use of the first person. Even though using the first person is typically frowned upon when writing an academic essay or research paper, you should check with your teacher of professor if they want you to use the first person when you are writing a response paper. Because your professor cares about your understanding of what you have been assigned as measured by your opinion on it, your professor will very frequently encourage you to use the first person when writing a response paper.