Classification and Division Essays

Classification and Division Essays

During their studies, students are frequently asked to divide and classify various objects or items and present their findings in essay form. Regardless of whether the task is to classify and divide some type of clothing in a job situation or for an essay, or categorize one’s living expenses in spreadsheet form for budgetary or tax return purposes, it is essential to know how to classify and then divide things properly.

The Purpose of a Classification and Division Essay

The primary purpose of an essay of this type is to teach students how to think in a critical manner about how various things or categories of things relate to each other. Writing a classification and division essay is similar to other essays in many respects. It can help if the student looks at classification as the allocation of separate and unrelated items into distinctive categories or as individual parts of a whole entity. In a similar manner, division involves separating entire groups of things into different parts. These tasks are often so alike that it is not unusual for the terms to be interchanged by tutors and professors.

Selecting a Suitable Topic and Preparing an Essay Plan

The writer needs to think about the purpose of their essay in order to plan it effectively. One starting point is to consider the essay’s tone. If a tutor requests a serious-minded topic that requires external research, it can help to start by considering categories within your discipline or field of study. For example, someone studying biology might consider categorizing dinosaur types into modern-day groupings. For instant, the categories may include:

  • Those with characteristics that are bird-like
  • Those with reptile-type characteristics
  • Those with characteristics similar to warm-blooded mammals.

Alternatively, if a tutor specifies a humorous or informal topic, the writer might consider things they observe in daily life. They may, for instance, consider the clothes stores at their local mall and categorize them according to type e.g. those that sell:

  • Children’s clothes
  • Adult clothes
  • Hipster clothes.

From there, the writer could illustrate their various points using examples and/or their own observations.

Developing an essay plan means working out your classification and division criteria. If, for instance, the topic concerns arty styles in modern-day art, one could make a note of the main features of each artistic style, and from there, select the most renowned artists of modern times from each movement or style.

The Structure of a Classification Paper

  1. Introductory paragraph. Make sure you provide sufficient background information on the topic to make it clear to the readers what your essay is about. The last sentence of the introduction should be a clearly formulated and strong thesis statement.
  2. Main body. Each category should be discussed in a separate body paragraph. Sufficient examples and illustrations should be provided.
  3. Conclusion. Restate the core categories mentioned earlier in the thesis statement. Check on whether the answer “So what?” can be answered.

Introductory Paragraph and Thesis Statement

Your introductory paragraph should set out the topic and say why it is important to understand the various categories. The topic and the divisions or classifications should be explained in the thesis statement.

Main Body (Supporting) Paragraphs

Each individual body paragraph should cover a category described in the thesis statement. If you were to take the earlier example of the dinosaurs, then one paragraph could talk about how some dinosaur species started to develop and display certain bird-like features such as feathers and other characteristics. These ideas should be supported with the use of external sources unless a tutor or professor permits the use of hypothetical or personally remembered examples.

The Concluding Paragraph

Your concluding paragraph should reunite the categories or divisions, and their importance should be reiterated or explained again. For instance, it is important to understand how distinctive categories of dinosaurs evolved because it helps us understand the development of many modern animal species.

Tips on Writing Classification and Division Essay

A classification and division essay is a type of writing, where you have to synthesize the knowledge you have acquired about specific phenomena or things, provide examples as in expository or illustration essay, and apply them in a more concrete way to the thesis statement. To put it more simply, in a classification and division essay, you have to provide examples that make up the form of a composition: either how things or notions may be united into a certain category (classification) or how a specific phenomenon or idea may be divided into separate constituents (division). 

As such, the purpose of classification and division papers is to take a whole of a thing/ idea and divide it into parts and then distribute each of the constituents into specific categories. It is rather uncommon to organize a whole paper (from beginning to end) as classification essay. As a rule, this classification style may be characteristic of one or two essay paragraphs.

Techniques of Writing Classification Papers

  • You take a complex topic/ object/ idea, etc. and divide it into constituent parts. This is done for explanatory purposes and to shed more clarity of how something is composed.
  • You do classification of the constituents into corresponding categories. In the process of division, you will more or less know what categories to choose.

Purpose of a Classification Paper

Your main goal in writing a classification and division essay is to help readers get more in-depth understanding of a complex topic.

Steps towards Writing a Successful Classification Paper

  1. Choose a topic that you consider to be rather complex and confusing. Divide it into parts or subtopics. Make sure the topic is not specific but broad and complex (it should be easily broken into separate categories).
  2. Come up with the right classification principle. Think of what the identified items have in common. In the process of classification, you have probably already thought of what common things or features they have.
  3. Make sure you are concrete in choosing the principle of classification because if you have thought of some associations that only you understand, then your target audience will not get the core message of your essay. Also keep in mind that the categories you have identified do not overlap.
  4. Double-check on whether your identified categories support the idea you have put forward in your thesis. If they do not, make sure they are related.
  5. When writing, always think of your target audience. Will the essay layout help them understand the topic better? Are the categories clear and specific?

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