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Overview + Hierarchical biography Before we start explaining what a hierarchical biography is, let’s take a quick look at the 3 previous types of biographies.

Chronological biography This is when you present your subject’s whole life in time order. You start with their birth and end with their death, highlighting key achievements in between.

Chronological biography = Your subject’s life events are presented in time order. Thematic biography In a thematic biography, you focus on one aspect of your subject’s life and detail it with bias. Your point here is to influence your reader so they share your opinion.

Your focus is on Robert’s impact on educational reforms.

Overview + Hierarchical biography

Thematic biography = strong evidence to influence your reader.

Selective biography In a selective biography, you present one or more aspects of you subject’s life factually, without the intention of influencing your reader. The events are presented as they happened. The point here is to inform your reader rather than persuade them.

Your focus is on presenting facts about Robert’s art.

Selective biography = Unbiased facts about your subject’s life.

Hierarchal biography A hierarchal biography is no different from a chronological biography, except that your subject’s life events are presented according to their importance for your subject’s recognition rather than in time order. Let’s say that Robert Anderson was renowned as an artist, but that a lesser but still important aspect of his life was his political inclination, followed by his yet less stellar family life, both of which had a certain influence on his life as an artist. In this case, you discuss Robert’s life as an artist, followed by his political practices, and ending with his less known family life and its influence on his life as an artist.

Overview + Hierarchical biography

Robert was best known as an artist.

Robert was less known as a politician.

Little was known about Robert’s family life.

Hierarchal biography = Most important aspect of your subject’s life + Second most important aspect of your subject’s life + Your subject’s least known aspect of life.

Please click here to read a sample hierarchal biography.

Overview hierarchical biography  
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