Why Do We Classify Things?

People classify things as an organizational tactic, according to The American Society for Microbiology. Classification helps people monitor items, animals, people and events. It also helps people to contrast and compare items. Scientists practice the classification of living things to enhance their understanding of relationships among living creatures.

The University of California, San Diego, states that classification protects people and keeps them alive. For example, humans have practiced plant and animal classification for thousands of years. This classification helps people to know which plants and animals are safe.

Department stores exhibit basic principles of classification by organizing themselves into sections of clothing (further divided by gender and age), furniture (divided by indoor and outdoor), and sporting equipment (divided by the sport). This system helps shoppers find items quickly and efficiently. Classification enables stores to serve their customers and monitor their inventories.

Classification is a way for people to investigate a topic. For example, a project on stand-up comedians may compare and contrast the way that comedians act depending on their race, age, gender, marital or child status. This same project might use an entirely different classification scheme to examine human behavior. Classifications such as this can lead to a better understanding of human nature in general.