Classification looks at a diverse group of objects (a heterogeneous group) and looks for similarities. The writer then creates categories based on those similarities and labels each category. Humor is often, but not always, the intent of writing a classification essay. For example, a student may choose to write an essay classifying students at her school. Such categories may include any of the following: the overachievers, the techies, the jocks, and the club rats. The writer would describe each of these categories in a paragraph, using humorous language and giving examples.
Longer essays may also contain an introductory page that defines words and phrases of the essay's topic. Most academic institutions require that all substantial facts, quotations, and other porting material in an essay be referenced in a bibliography or works cited page at the end of the text. This scholarly convention helps others (whether teachers or fellow scholars) to understand the basis of facts and quotations the author uses to support the essay's argument and helps readers evaluate to what extent the argument is supported by evidence, and to evaluate the quality of that evidence. The academic essay tests the student's ability to present their thoughts in an organized way and is designed to test their intellectual capabilities.