Writing Classification Essay


The goal of a classification essay is to organize and sort data into certain categories. It requires the author to have and utilize the skills of logical thinking, analysis, categorization, and structuration.

In order to make a good classification, one should follow three easy rules:

  • Arrange data into certain number of useful categories
  • See that your categorization follows one organizing principle
  • Provide some quality examples for each category

Knowing these three basic steps, you can start writing an essay. If you’re an organized person, it will be easy for you to write it because you understand the principle. Let’s cite an example. Your father has a closet full of building tools, but he hasn’t done any cleaning there for 5 years. Imagine the mess! You decide to help him. What do you do? You unload all the shelves on the floor. Now you have a complete mess. But then you start to categorize them. First screwdriver, second screwdriver, third screwdriver…big hammer, little hammer, huge hammer…you may even wonder why your father has so many screwdrivers, hammers, and all that stuff? But asking questions is not your job. Your job is to turn this mess into order. So in the end, you have everything categorized, and you see your happy father exhaling with alleviation. That’s categorization! Now apply the same principle to data and words.

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Know your sources (1) – know your categories (2) – sort the data (3).

When working with categories, don’t go to extremes. That means that you shouldn’t miss out important categories, and, on the other hand, you shouldn’t include too many categories. In the first case categorization makes little sense because some important data is left out, in the second case categorization makes little sense because it will be impossible to remember and recollect it.

Follow one organizing principle. It’s how you sort the groups or classes of data. For instance, when your organizing principle is “tourist-oriented” water sports, you shouldn’t apply another organizing principle, like “native water sports”, which would include a whole lot of different categories. Be consistent.

Provide quality examples for each category. Some categories might require more examples than the other, which means that you don’t have to try to give the equal quantity of examples for each category. As a rule, the most important or the most difficult category requires more examples.

Before writing a classification essay, don’t forget to compose an essay outline. An essay outline helps the author to put the data of the research into a certain order, which is very helpful in terms of writing a structured work. Basically, an essay outline is the framework of your essay.

Another cool thing about classification essays is that they can work the other way around, in case you’re a disorganized person. This means that if you get skillful at writing, you can easily help your father to clean-up the mess in his old closet.