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Organize information into logical groups.

As with describing, narrating, defining, and comparing, classifying is a component of all writing genres. Just as writers pause to describe ideas and events or define new concepts in most documents, they routinely classify information--that is, show or tell readers how information can be grouped into categories.

Occasionally, an entire document focuses on explaining a taxonomy--that is, a scheme of classification.

Why Classify Information?

To make knowledge, we routinely categorize information. A biologist might refer to the periodic table. A musician might speak about country music, new age music, jazz, or techno. A movie critic might talk about suspense, thriller, drama, or comedic movies. A religious studies professor might discuss Christian religions, Muslim sects, and Buddhist practices. As a college student, you might talk about specific colleges' sports teams according to the divisions their teams play in. Universities often subdivide areas of specialty according to the following categories:

  • 1. Natural sciences
    • Agriculture
    • Geology
    • Biology
    • Zoology
  • 2. Social sciences
    • Psychology
    • Political Science
    • Sociology
    • Anthropology
    • Social work
  • 3. Applied sciences
    • Biomedicine
    • Mathematics
    • Chemistry
    • Engineering
    • Physics
  • 4. Humanities
    • English literature
    • American studies
    • History
    • Interdisciplinary studies
    • Modern languages
    • Architecture
    • Art history
  • 5. Fine arts
    • Painting
    • Sculpture
    • Ceramics
    • Theater