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A classification essay sorts details into categories using a single organizing principle. Each category provides examples and research to support your thesis.

Writing an Effective Classification Essay

  1. Select your categories and make sure to examine the full breadth of the topic. Be thorough and include every important category, but don’t overdo it (i.e. adding categories that are not germane or pertinent to your subject).
  2. Use a single organizing principle to classify. Then sort your groups.
  3. Provide examples. Plan to provide the same number of examples for each category. Save your most important category for last, and, if necessary, give additional information for that one.
    When writing your classification essay, select resources with recently-published (within the last seven years) research. You might occasionally stumble on a resource providing timeless information on your subject, but be selective.

An Example: Globalization

Say you wish to write a classification essay on the topic of globalization. Read and cite studies published in peer-reviewed journals, and consider providing the following categories in your essay:

– Globalization’s impact on world aid and trade policies

– Expanded job opportunities (especially for women) due to globalization

– How globalization has impacted your country

Current events throughout the world can also provide information related to globalization. An article about the World Bank providing financial assistance to Mexico with the goal of reducing ozone could be a good example.

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