Classification and Division

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Classification and Division asks you to break something down into its component parts, offering an insight or analysis into the thing you’re breaking down.  You actually use classification and division thinking a lot, perhaps without realizing it (e.g., different personality types of the people you know, different types of cars, different types of activities for your children, etc.).

In college writing, in addition to grouping and classifying, you’re also asked to make a point about the groupings that offers an analytical insight (e.g., Of all the sixteen personality types that Myers-Briggs identify, the ___ type is the best to hire in a ___ type of job, for a number of reasons.)  Your point – your main idea, angle, assertion – should be complex enough for you to develop creatively.  Division and classification thought is a way of organizing and dealing with complex and/or abundant information in order to provide additional understanding.

Essays using a classification and division pattern have topic sentences and units of support for each group or class.  The topic sentences themselves should have angles that relate back to the main angle in the thesis.

View the following video for a clear definition and multiple basic examples of the concepts of division and classification. (Note that you will be expected to apply the concepts of division and classification to more complex concepts for college essays.)

View the following video for a further explanation of classification and division pattern in essay writing.

Here’s a graphic organizer for the Classification and Division pattern.

Hierarchical diagram; Top = Thesis, makes a point about types or categories of something; middle = Topic sentences (point about first type, point about second type); bottom = Supporting paragraphs (details about first type, details about second type)

Classification and Division in Action:

Make sure to read sample Classification and Division essays in the Sample Essays section of this text.