Classification and Division Essays

Expert Guide to Writing Classification and Division Essays

The idea behind a classification and/or division essay is that it takes what the student has learned and understood about using models or examples and applying these to the development of a thesis. Put another way, it means using examples that show how the composition is formed e.g. how objects or ideas can be classified or assigned to categories or how objects or ideas can be divided or separated into various parts. 

When Classifying Objects or Ideas

Classification can be thought of as a way to categorize items. Consider that food can be classified into four groups. Say, for instance, you were to write about them – and form a thesis – e.g., how they contribute to daily nutrition. What you would be doing in your classification is looking for common features (or denominators) in objects or ideas that are in some way different. What is the common denominator, for instance, in ice cream, cheese and eggs? For one thing, a lot of cholesterol! But what is the basis for classification? It could be that this topic is better for a cause and effect essay. Be careful not to stray off the point unless your tutor has given permission for you to do so.

  • Once you begin your classifications, check that there is no overlapping in these.
  • Do not leave out any essential categories – all groupings should fully classify your topic or there is a risk they will just be isolated or “unattached” examples.
  • Take care that all groupings are logical.

Classification Example

Take these words – frame, windows, big and bricks – all of which are house-related classifications. Which word does not fit? Every word can be put into “house” classifications except “big” since this belongs to the classification of size rather than type.   

How Division Applies

The division of objects – a type of analysis – breaks objects down into suitable parts with a view to restructuring them so that they can form something that is new.

  • Whenever you write an essay outline, you are making divisions by breaking the whole or main parts of the essay down into smaller component parts. Similarly, in classification, the practice of not discussing all parts generally results in a divided or incomplete paper, full only of unconnected examples.
  • Although classifications may be separate, with individual objects grouped together under some unifying theme, divisions are more obvious insofar as they are clear parts of one whole.

Division Example

If, for instance, you wanted to discuss the primary components of a leading sports team, this would represent a division. Similarly, talking about the component parts of a division essay also represents division. 

The Structure of Classification

  1. Introductory Part

This contains the writer’s thesis statement.

  1. Main Body Parts

These are individual paragraphs that identify the different categories, supported with solid examples.

  1. Concluding Part

This section recaps on the different categories presented in the thesis statement. The benefit of the classifications should be addressed by the “what does it matter” question.

The Structure of Division

  1. Introductory Part

This part includes a thesis statement i.e. describing the object or idea under analysis and its purpose.

  1. Main Body Parts

This part uses separate or individual paragraphs to explain the divisions. There should be examples and transitional phrases to show how the parts are related or inter-connected.

  1. Concluding Part

This paragraph recaps on the thesis and its significance. It also tries to provide new insight or understanding about the component parts.

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