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Classification essays are written based on one or several classification parameters - a writer should select one or several criteria along which the subject will be classified, and that's how an essay is born.
What is a classification essay?
Classification essay is a type of essay that serves the purpose of analyzing and classifying information, while training students’ writing and analytical skills. Classification can be further explained as assignment of certain features or groups of features to the described objects with the purpose of their further analysis. Consequently, the purpose of writing classification essays is two-fold: on the one hand they facilitate students’ ability to express their thoughts clearly in writing; on the other hand they train them to think analytically, see the differences and things in common.
When are classification essays as means of education used?
Classification essays are used when students are dealing with some knowledge that is new to them; when they need to learn to take one criterion for analysis and apply it to find similarities and/or differences in the described object(s). Classification essay writing has a wide range of applications and doesn’t really depend on the discipline you are taking, rather depends on the logical operation you want to practice. In literature, for instance, you could be asked to classify a number of poems by their meter (a meter is a repeated pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in poetry; meters can be iambic, dactylic, trochaic, anapestic and spondaic). Alternatively, you could get asked to classify a number of literary works depending on their genre.
One should bear in mind that classification essays per se are very basic assignments from the academic point of view. They are usually assigned when there is a need to provide a classification of what has been previously unclassified; those are most typically works of art, facebook users or literary works etc. Therefore don't expect to see a classification of species, mental disorders or medical conditions in a regular classification essay as these classifications require a substantial theoretical framework, which is subject to PhD level research and beyond.
Classification essay structure
From the structural point of view, basic classification essays should take the five paragraph format. The five paragraph classification essay should consist of an introduction, two to three body paragraphs and a conclusion. The introduction acquaints the reader with the topic/problem and also serves as the attention getter. It should briefly tell the reader what the essay is going to cover and elaborate on those points later in the text. Essay paragraphs should give the reader more detail about items presented in the introduction. Each paragraph should be dedicated to a separate idea. The conclusion crowns the entire essay and briefly sums up items covered in the introduction and the body paragraph. Most experts indicate that essay conclusion should echo the information from the introductory paragraph and explain how the essay managed to answer the question. For more information, you can read a designated article on essay structure.
Things to remember when writing a classification essay
- Select your material for classification (book, movies, piece of music etc.)
- Analyze your material, select a classification parameter
- Find similarities and/or differences, think of categories to work with
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