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 science

  • 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