The Classification/Analysis Essay Assignment About this assignment

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The Classification/Analysis Essay Assignment

About this assignment

  • Students ask the most questions about the following assignment. You’re already familiar with the concepts in this presentation, but they might be presented in a way you haven’t considered before.
  • Work your way through the presentation, and as always, I’m here for you if you have questions.

What is classification? (also see p.295 in the RR)

  • You classify when you group ideas or objects into categories.
  • Ex: Grocery shopping
  • Ex: M&Ms candy
  • Ex: E-mail

Why would we group items or ideas?

  • 1. Helps us understand complex ideas
    • Science fields (botany, zoology, astronomy)
  • 2. Helps us recognize common characteristics that diverse things share


  • How do astronomers classify planets?

Journal assignment

  • Classify the follow topics on your own:
    • Menu items
    • Dogs
    • Love
    • Arguments against school uniforms

Journal assignment: possible answers

  • Types of menu items:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
  • Types of dogs:
  • Toy breeds
  • Hound breeds
  • Working breeds

Journal assignment: possible answers

  • Types of love:
  • Passionate love
  • Brotherly love
  • Love for God
  • Types of arguments against school uniforms:
  • Financial arguments
  • Behavioral arguments
  • Social arguments

Rules to Remember

  • Categories can’t be ILLOGICAL:
    • Large dogs
    • Medium dogs
    • Small dogs
    • Friendly dogs

Rules to Remember

  • Categories can’t OVERLAP:
  • I want to group newspapers into 2 categories—those who are interested in the good of the people, and those who are only interested in themselves.

Rules to Remember

  • Categories shouldn’t leave out the OBVIOUS:
  • I want to organize types of divorces:

Topic Ideas for Classification

  • Types of jazz dance moves
  • Types of sports strategies, equipment, players, rules, techniques, athletic successesetc.
  • Types of low-tech weapons
  • Types of baseball bats for the beginner
  • Types of testing strategies
  • Types of animal testing
  • Types of business managerial styles

More Ideas

  • Types of temperaments
  • Types of real estate blunders
  • Types of automotive purchasing blunders, types of engines for your boat, types of ¼ ton trucks, etc.
  • Types of organizational strategies
  • Types of mistakes dog owners make
  • Types of Caribbean vacations
  • Types of emotional games couples play

Topic Tip

  • TIP: Don’t think— “what should I classify?” Instead, come up with a topic. THEN, ask yourself, how might I classify this topic? How might I analyze this topic?
  • And the other side of the classification coin . . .

Division (or Analysis)

  • You divide (or analyze) when you break an idea or object down into smaller “chunks.”
  • This is different than classification because when you classify, you break down something very large. When you analyze, you break down something specific.
  • Ex: M&Ms

Why would we analyze?

  • Because this is how we look at information or objects in deeper ways.
    • Politicians analyze voters
    • Coaches analyze teams
    • Literary critics analyze poetry
    • Businesses analyze customers, trends, clients, products, sales, etc.
    • Auto enthusiasts analyze the 2009 Chevy Camaro


  • How might a doctor analyze a patient?
  • She might analyze:
  • Medical history
  • Or age
  • Or vital signs
  • Or symptoms
  • Etc.
  • Remember that the reverse of this, classification, could be used as well. A doctor might classify a group of patients by severity of problem, medical history, age, vital signs, symptoms, etc.

Journal assignment

  • Analyze:
    • A tennis shoe
    • The appeal of any TV show
    • The argument for (or against) legalizing marijuana

Journal assignment: possible answers

  • Analysis of a tennis shoe:
  • Material
  • Brand
  • Purpose
  • Price point
  • Intended audience
  • How it’s made
  • Athlete endorsement
  • Labor costs
  • Environmental impact
  • Advertising
  • Country where it’s made
  • History of product
  • History of company
  • Etc.

Journal assignment: possible answers

  • Appeal of NBC’s The Office
    • Dark humor
    • Familiar office situations
    • Familiar office personalities
    • Talented actors
    • Talented writers

Topic Ideas for Analysis

  • Analyze what it takes to be financially independent
  • Analyze a thing, person, idea, concept
  • Analyze an invention
  • Analyze a career
  • Analyze a problem
  • Analyze a solution for a problem
  • Analyze a strategy
  • Analyze a corporation, business plan, etc.
  • Analyze a technology
  • Analyze ANYTHING!

Essay Criteria

  • Pick either classification OR analysis
  • 3-5 pages
  • 3 outside, credible sources
  • Remember attachments (checklist, etc.)
  • Avoid slang
  • Try to use mostly 3rd person POV
  • Try to have a more formal writing style

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