How to Write a Classification Essay


(Updated on June 19, 2020)

A division and classification essay is a type of assignment that breaks a larger, more complex subject into smaller ones that make the subject easier to understand.  As such, the division portion of the assignment is a bit different from the classification portion, though both are of equal importance.

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The division portion of the division and classification essay is meant to look at how one large subject or project can be broken down into several smaller parts.  The classification portion, on the other hand, takes those smaller items and puts them into various categories.

Since you'll be called upon to categorize the smaller parts that you have broken the larger topic down into, you'll also need to decide how you'll classify the items.  In order to do this, you'll need to determine which elements are the most important to the subject, how they're related to one another, and how they affect the larger subject.

How to Write a Classification EssayWhen determining the categories of division and classification essays, there isn't necessarily one right or wrong answer.  So long as the items are related in a way that's observable and that can be made clear to the reader, you can create the categories in any way that you desire.  Keep in mind, however, that the purpose of dividing and classifying the smaller concepts is to help reach a greater understanding of the bigger subject.  Therefore, the categories that you develop should be easily linked back to the bigger subject.

When completing a division and classification essay, you should develop a strong introduction that grabs the reader's attention.  Your introductory paragraph should also explain precisely what you intend to do in the report, which is to break a larger concept down into smaller parts so it can be more easily understood.

In the body of your paragraph, you should devote at least one paragraph to each of the categories you have developed when breaking the larger concept down into smaller pieces.  You should describe that category as well as each of the elements within that category.  In addition, each paragraph should provide some explanation of how these smaller elements tie into the "big picture."

Your final paragraph is your conclusion.  In your conclusion, you should once again state the purpose of the report, though it should be worded in a way that's different from how it was worded in the introduction.  You should also leave something for the reader to ponder by tying the big concept to a real life application.

As you begin the writing process, you should pre-plan your document layout and outline the major points you wish to cover.  Using your outline, you can then develop a rough draft by filling in the details.  After your rough draft is complete, re-read the division and classification essay in order to make sure that the flow is logical and that you don't have grammatical or punctuation errors.  Ideally, you should set the report aside for at least a few days before re-reading, as this will help you more readily identify your errors.

Classification Essay Writing

Writing a classification essay is similar to organizing and filing documents into different categories.  The only difference between completing a classification essay and filing a document is that filing is generally done alphabetically, while a classification essay can categorize in many different ways.

Classification essays contain the exact same components that other college papers contain.  Classification reports should have an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.  And the introduction of every classification report should have a thesis statement, which generally encompasses the items, or topics, being classified.

For instance, if a classification essay is about various dogs, the thesis statement might mention something such as "Great Danes, German Shepherds, and Toy Poodles are all types of AKC recognized dog breeds."  If the classification essay is about sports, the thesis statement might indicate that "football, basketball, and baseball are all popular U.S.  sports."  In essence, the thesis statement should indicate what is being classified and how they fall into the same classification.

The body of the classification essay can be divided in two ways.  The student can elect to use one paragraph to discuss or evaluate each classified item or topic separately, or he/she can use each paragraph to compare and contrast various aspects of the items or topics being classified.  Some instructors will indicate which style they prefer and students should always follow the guidelines set forth by the instructor.

The conclusion is used to restate the thesis and summarize the facts and information presented with the classification paper.  The conclusion should wrap everything up.  The reader should feel as if the report has been concluded, not necessarily that everything possible that can be said has been stated on the subject.

Just as with any assignment, classification reports should be well-written reports with well-presented and well-researched arguments and facts.  Students should pay attention to grammar and spelling, sentence structure and punctuation, and should follow any formatting and citation guidelines given to them by the instructor.  When the instructor hasn't presented any specific formatting guidelines to the students, it's always safe to use one inch margins and double-spaced text.  And, as with any assignment, students are expected to present original work.

Classification essays aren't particularly difficult to write and most students do well on them.  Classification essays are basic writing assignments designed to test students' critical thinking and writing abilities.  A student who puts thought and effort into his/her work usually receives a satisfactory grade.

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