An Classification Essay

Classification Essay

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Definition:

In a classification essay, we organize things into categories and give examples of things that fit into each category. For example, if you choose to write about types of computers (PCs and servers), each of your developmental paragraphs will define the characteristics of a different computer type.

 

Classification criteria:

Before writing, it is necessary to decide on the classification criteria. We should think according to what properties we are going to classify things. The criteria must be discriminating and the emerging classes should be non-overlapping. 

 

In the sample essay about types of computers, the computers are classified according to their functions and capabilities, as:

 

    Sample essay analysis

topic:    5 types of computerscriteria: their functions and capabilities
1. PCgeneral use by a single person

desktop: permanent

laptop: portable

2. Workstationused for 3D graphics, game developmentpowerful microprocessor, additional memory and enhanced capabilities
3. Serverused to provide services to other computershave powerful processors, lots of memory and large hard drives
4. Main frameused in businessenables hundreds of people to work together
5. Super computerused for jobs that take massive amounts of calculatingvery powerful

                   

Organization:

The introduction of a classification essay is quite straightforward. In the thesis statement, you mention that there are (number) types of (something) according to their (properties).

In the developmental paragraphs, you need to define each type you mentioned in the thesis. You may also need to show the similarities and/or differences of these types. Giving examples would enable your readers to understand better.

Language:

The common transitions used while classifying are the first kind / type / group, the second kind / type / group, the third kind / type / group.

Types of Computers

There are a lot of terms used to describe computers. Most of these words imply the size, expected use or capability of the computer. While the term “computer” can apply to virtually any device that has a microprocessor in it, most people think of a computer as a device that receives input from the user through a mouse or keyboard, processes it in some fashion and displays the result on a screen. Computers can be divided into five according to the purpose they are used for and their capabilities.

The most familiar type of microprocessor is the personal computer (PC). It designed for general use by a single person. While a Mac is also a PC, most people relate the term with systems that run the Windows operating system. PCs were first known as microcomputers because they were a complete computer but built on a smaller scale than the huge systems in use by most businesses. A PC can come in two types (three if we include the Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) that differ from PCs not by the working policy but in appearance as well.): Desktop and laptop. The former is not designed for portability. The expectation with desktop systems is that you will set the computer up in a permanent location. Most desktops offer more power, storage and versatility for less cost than their portable brethren. On the other hand, the laptops - also called notebooks - are portable computers that integrate the display, keyboard, a pointing device or trackball, processor, memory and hard drive all in a battery-operated package slightly larger than an average hardcover book.

Another purpose for using a microprocessor is as a workstation. The computers used for this purpose have a more powerful processor, additional memory and enhanced capabilities for performing a special group of task, such as 3D Graphics or game development.

 

A computer can also be used as a server. For this, it needs to beoptimized to provide services to other computers over a network. Servers usually have powerful processors, lots of memory and large hard drives.

 

A fourth type, a main frame is the heart of a network of computers or terminals which allows hundreds of people to work at the same time on the same data. It is indispensable for the business world.

 

Sometimes, computers can be used for specialized fields as well. The supercomputeris the top of the heap in power and expense. It is used for jobs that take massive amounts of calculating, like weather forecasting, engineering design and testing, serious decryption, and economic forecasting.

 

With the increasing demand in different specialties, new adjustments are being made to microprocessors and new types of computers that serve different purposes emerge. In this ongoing process, it would not possible to put a full stop here. What we suggest is that it is better to keep en eye on the development of science in this field and keep updating our knowledge in order not to be out-of-date like the computers of old times that were as big as a room.

__________________________________________________________________________

Written by Oya Ozagac, May 2004

How should I go about choosing my topic?

Begin by reading the explanations below.  Examples of each are provided below!

  • Division Essay: find a topic that people might tend to underestimate or over-simplify.  In other words, choose something that the average person might not know much about, and therefore can't really understand how complex or interesting that topic really is.  Your job in the essay will be to break your topic down into meaningful and important categories.

  • Classification Essay: think about the categories we place things in everyday and the characteristics of those categories.  The topic you choose should allow you to argue that something has been misplaced.

How should I organize this essay?

As you write, keep these guidelines in mind: 

  1. Your thesis statement and introduction will need to explain why these divisions/ classifications should matter to your reader.
  2. Your thesis statement and introduction MUST define or explain the category you plan to discuss (i.e. A sport is a competitive, physical activity therefore cheerleading should be considered a sport.)
  3. You should organize your body paragraphs so that each division or category has it's own paragraph or section. (i.e. cardio exercise is paragraph 1 and weightlifting is paragraph 2, etc.)

Division Essay Examples

If you want to lose weight, simply saying that you're going to "exercise" everyday may not be the most effective way to do so.  Exercising is more complex than many people realize--attaining your goals will involve understanding how different types of exercise can help you achieve your goals.   

Types of Exercise

  • cardio: burns calories and strengthens your heart (running, using an elliptical or stair-stepping machine, etc.)
  • weight lifting: tones muscles, increases physical strength, burns fat (using weights or weighted machines)
  • recreational/sports: depending on the sport, can provide both cardio and toning benefits (cycling, tennis, kayaking)

We could also narrow this topic down a bit further and write about the important differences between different types of cycling.

Types of Cycling:  stationary (exercise) biking, road biking, mountain biking, recreational biking

Classification Essay Examples

To write this type of essay, we'll need to think about things that should or should not be placed in a particular category.

Example: Batman (that's our topic!) is not a superhero (category people place him in), but is simply a local vigilante (category he belongs in).

Ask yourself: Why do I think that...?

  • Does not possess super powers (powers most humans don't possess).  
  • Chooses to be a hero, rather than being "chosen" by others/other forces.

Example: Cheerleading (That's our topic!) should be considered a sport (It belongs in the category, "sports"). 

Ask yourself: Why do I think that...?

  • cheerleaders go to "practice" and must be in good physical shape
  • cheerleaders work together toward a common goal
  • cheerleaders must "try out" for their squad and often compete against other squads

Sample Papers

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