13.2: Basic Structure of the Classification Essay
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The Thesis Statement
The thesis statement in a classification essay often identifies the classified groups. Further, it should make an assertion about the relevance or importance of the groups. Students will need to develop clear and concise thesis statements that identify the point and purpose of the essay while breaking the subjects down into logically developed paragraphs. Thesis statements should always be written in third person. There are two kinds of thesis statements: a basic thesis statement and a listing thesis statement.
Basic Thesis Statement
Although the animals of the Earth have distinct environments, how they move through their varying environments is based not on the habitat, but on the method of propulsion.
The basic thesis statement identifies the topic and makes an assertion about the topic, stating the position of the writer.
Listing or Mapping Thesis Statement
Animals move through their environments in one of three ways: by feet, wings, or fins.
The mapping thesis statement identifies the topic (animals), makes an assertion about the topic (move through their environments in one of three ways) and lists the categories (feet, wings, and fins).
The introduction is the hook. It grabs the reader’s attention and provides engagement in the topic. As with many rhetorical strategies, topics can be introduced by telling a story that is related to the topic, asking a question that the thesis answers, asking a rhetorical question that has no answer but introduces the reader to the subject matter. Usually, the final sentence of the introduction is the thesis statement.
Each category in the classification needs its own paragraph. In addition, if the categories are mentioned in a mapping thesis statement, follow the order established in the thesis statement. In developing each category, explain the specifics that make the category, provide examples of things that fall into the category, and evidence of those distinctions.
Conclusions address key points in the essay and tie the introduction to the conclusion.
Your conclusion should not just restate the thesis; it should comment on the significance of the thesis. What does your reader know now after reading your essay that wasn't known before?
For more explanation regarding introductions, conclusions and thesis statements, refer to Chapter 6.