Overview

Classification essays are among the common types of essays that students are assigned as a part of academic assessments. Although classification essays are quite simple and straightforward, there is a proper structure and format that you need to follow. Following the right format will give you an ultimate opportunity to score well in your classification essay tasks.

Having said that, this is your all-inclusive guide to writing excellent classification essays that can serve as a perfect template for your fellow students. So, let us get started without further ado.

What is a classification essay?

What is a classification essay?

As the name suggests, in a classification essay, you need to organize a topic or idea into different classes or categories. The topic here can correlate to tangible things like types (classes) of cars, supercomputers, constructions, or aircraft. Alternatively, the topic can also relate to some intangible concepts like psychological behaviors, leadership theories, motivators, or determinants of cognitive development.

Let us look at a few examples of classification essay prompts

  • Discuss the various types of political systems prevalent in the world
  • Shed light on the different types of democracies
  • Discuss the various classes of leadership styles

So, as you can see, each of these examples is asking you to discuss a topic in a way that you present the different classifications of the topic in a descriptive way along with examples if possible.

Like any other essay, a classification essay also has three sections inclusive of the introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.

Going ahead, this guide takes you through the entire process of writing an impressive classification essay starting with an impactful introduction. Further, the guide will discuss how you can arrange the topic into different categories in the body paragraphs. Lastly, the guide delineates how you can conclude a classification essay in an impressive manner.

How to write the introduction of a classification essay

Let us now look at a section-wise approach to writing a classification essay beginning with the introduction. For better understanding, we can take an example essay prompt to explain what needs to be included in each section.

Example essay prompt: Shed light on the different types of democracies

An effective introduction is one that can create an immediate influence on the readers such that they feel enticed to read the entire essay with great curiosity. Besides, a great introduction should clearly explain to the reader what the essay is about and the key aspects it will be delineating.

So, if we talk about classification essays, the introduction should clearly establish the topic or the idea that you are organizing into different classifications. So, if we take our example prompt into account, the introduction will clearly state that the essay will delve deep into the different classifications of democracy.

Before we proceed ahead with the introduction, you need to know that an impactful introduction has the following elements:

  • Hook
  • Background brief
  • Purpose
  • Thesis statement
  • Outline

Introduction element: Hook of a classification essay

A hook is the very first statement of the essay introduction that is aimed at creating an immediate impact. A hook can be made around statistics relevant to the topic, a strong claim, an unexplored fact, or even something humorous subject to the context of the essay.

The hook of your classification essay should introduce the broader topic in an effective manner to create importance around the topic. So, as per our essay prompt, the hook should make a strong claim about democracy or present an insightful fact relating to democracy. Let us look at a sample hook.

Topic: Shed light on the different types of democracies

Example hook

In Greek history, while some cities were termed democracies, others were termed oligarchies and that is where democracy finds its origin.

In this hook, we have talked about the origin of democracy as a concept and it presents a little-known fact to the readers to grab instant attention. After the hook, you will include the background brief of the topic followed by the purpose of the essay. So, if we talk about this essay topic, you will then give a background brief of democracy and how democratic virtues have evolved over the years in a concise way, and how your essay aims at delving deep into the different forms of democracies. After the purpose, comes the thesis statement which is explained in the subsequent section.

Introduction element: Thesis statement of a classification essay

In the general context, a thesis statement concisely explains the central theme of the essay highlighting the main ideas that are discussed in the body paragraphs. For a classification essay, a thesis statement will explain how the essay sheds light on the different classifications of the topic at hand and also introduces the classes you will be mentioning. You need to specify the names of the classification and also explain the basis of classifications. The thesis statement basically labels the classes or categories that you are bifurcating the central top into.

You will get greater clarity when you look at the sample thesis statement of the classification essay prompt we have chosen as our example.

Topic: Shed light on the different types of democracies

Sample thesis statement

The essay discusses the prominent classifications of democracy which include participative democracy, representative democracy, and direct democracy, and how they differ from each other.

This thesis statement establishes a clear understanding of the various classes of the central idea that will be discussed in the essay. Next comes the outline of the essay with which you conclude your introductory paragraph.

Introduction element: outline of a classification essay

In the outline of the essay, you need to explain the structure of the body paragraphs. Simply put, the outline defines what the body paragraphs will include. In the usual sense, an essay includes three to five body paragraphs. So, the outline will clearly demarcate what each body paragraph will include.

Let us look at the outline of our example essay prompt to establish a better understanding of how to explain the outline of the essay at the end of the essay introduction.

Topic: Shed light on the different types of democracies

Sample outline

First, the essay elaborates on participative democracy along with examples of countries where participative democracy is prevalent. Secondly, the essay explains representative democracy and lists a few countries where this class of democracy prevails. Lastly, the essay elucidates direct democracy along with examples of countries where this class of democracy exists.

How to write the body of a classification essay?

Next comes the body paragraphs of a classification essay. This is where you need to organize the different classifications of the topic into different body paragraphs. In the usual sense, a classification essay includes three to four body paragraphs. So, if there are three or four classifications, you can conveniently add one classification to each body paragraph. However, there can be cases when there are seven to eight classifications of a topic. In that case, you need to club the classifications in a way that you can cover them in three to four paragraphs.

Also, after the number of paragraphs, the order of paragraphs is also a key consideration in a classification essay. The order can be from the least relevant to the most relevant or the other way around. This order needs to be coherent with the basis of the classification.

Having said that, you need to follow the right structure for writing a body paragraph. Speaking of the structure of a body paragraph, you need to include the following aspects.

  • Topic sentence
  • Evidence in support/ examples
  • Analysis
  • Concluding sentence

So, in a classification essay, the topic sentence will clearly explain the class that the body paragraph will be discussing along with the examples. In this way, by reading the first line of the body paragraph, the readers will clearly know what the body paragraph is about. You then need to define the category in a clear and concise way.

Going ahead, after the evidence and analysis, you need to give a brief conclusion at the end of the body paragraph. So, in a classification essay, you can conclude by discussing the merits, demerits, future implications, or changes in the current state of the category of the overall topic discussed in that particular body paragraph. Also, in an expository essay, it is imperative to end each paragraph with a transition sentence.

Let us understand the composition of the body paragraph of a classification essay through a sample.

Topic: Shed light on the different types of democracies

Sample body paragraph

Participative democracy is one of the most prevalent types of democracies in contemporary times and empowers citizens to have a direct influence on political decision-making. To substantiate, in a participative democracy or participatory democracy, citizens participate directly in framing the political policies of the country (Martinez et al., 2008). In a participative democracy, the citizens have access to policymakers through different access points like town hall meetings. Further, citizens can also voice their concerns and influence political decision-making referendums and memorandums (Morel, 2012). It is analyzed that participative democracy exists in varying magnitudes across the globe with the most prominent examples being Spain and Italy. Countries all over the world are now making efforts to make their democracies more participative in nature and citizens also share the same ambition. However, there are also some limitations of participatory democracy that need to be taken into consideration. The participation of the public in policy measures can lead to unprecedented delays in decision-making and additional expenditure to create access points. Hence, countries need to maintain the right balance between participation in a democracy and other power-sharing arrangements.

As you can see, the body paragraph talks only about one classification of democracy discussing its definition, implications and limitations. Ultimately, there is a brief conclusion to the body paragraph. In a similar manner, you need to arrange every class (type) into different body paragraphs along the structure of a classification essay.

Lastly, after organizing every classification in body paragraphs, you then need to give an overall conclusion to the essay. The next section discusses how you need to go about the conclusion of a classification essay.

How to write the conclusion of a classification essay

The conclusion of the essay needs to basically restate the thesis statement and the key ideas that have been discussed in the body paragraphs. What you can do differently in a classification essay’s conclusion is, you can draw a concise comparison between different categories or classes discussed in the body paragraphs.

So, if your classification essay is on the types of business automation tools, you can conclude along the lines of which classes of automation tools are the best. Alternatively, you can conclude by discussing which automation tools are in the highest demand in contemporary times. Let us make it clearer for you by putting forth the conclusion for our example essay prompt.

Topic: Shed light on the different types of democracies

Sample conclusion

Participative democracy is one of the most prevalent types of democracies in contemporary times and empowers citizens to have a direct influence on political decision-making. To substantiate, in a participative democracy or participatory democracy, citizens participate directly in framing the political policies of the country (Martinez et al., 2008). In a participative democracy, the citizens have access to policymakers through different access points like town hall meetings. Further, citizens can also voice their concerns and influence political decision-making referendums and memorandums (Morel, 2012). It is analyzed that participative democracy exists in varying magnitudes across the globe with the most prominent examples being Spain and Italy. Countries all over the world are now making efforts to make their democracies more participative in nature and citizens also share the same ambition. However, there are also some limitations of participatory democracy that need to be taken into consideration. The participation of the public in policy measures can lead to unprecedented delays in decision-making and additional expenditure to create access points. Hence, countries need to maintain the right balance between participation in a democracy and other power-sharing arrangements.

To conclude, all three classifications of democracy discussed in this essay have striking contrasts in terms of their features, feasibility, and context. It is analyzed that these forms of democracy can also co-exist in the same political system in varying magnitudes as different local governments in a country may exercise different forms of democracy. From the citizens' perspective, participative democracy is the most effective and desirable form of democratic governance as it gives them direct participation in political decision-making with respect to political measures.

We are sure that you already feel like an expert at writing classification essays having gone through this guide diligently. Irrespective of the topic, now you exactly know how you need to go about writing an excellent classification essay.

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