How to Frame an Essay

Framing an essay helps you organize your writing process.

Framing an essay helps a writer set the tone for the piece and creates a structure for the information that follows. Essay frames allow writers to address specific information, such as a discussion or a theme, a persuasive argument about an issue or a list of instructional steps or directions to complete a task. As young writers learn to develop strong essay framing techniques, they will master the art of writing convincing and detailed essays.

Pick an essay topic. Decide what you will write about and how you will structure your argument. For example, a persuasive essay will begin with a clearly stated thesis topic, while an instructional essay will begin with a clear statement about an activity or action. The writer must first form and state the topic in order to then write an essay that provides evidence or information regarding the topic.

Begin with a clear statement of the theme. Use a quote from an expert or a direct statement of your stance to begin the essay. For example, if you are writing a persuasive essay against the death penalty, you may frame the essay by opening with a quote from a respected activist who frequently speaks out against the death penalty. Your opening phrases will help define the topic and frame your tone and approach to it.

Outline and write the main points that support the frame of the essay. Once you have developed your frame and topic sentences, you can outline the main points for the body of the essay. In a persuasive essay the main points will support your view of the issue and help refute opposing views. You can check that your essay flows properly and is thorough by reviewing each point in the body of the essay and checking to see that it relates directly back to the essay's frame.

End with a concise conclusion that connects back to the frame. Effective essay framing helps you structure an essay point-by-point so you can arrive at a clear conclusion that supports your topic. In an instructional essay, the reader will have been given all the information necessary to complete a task or activity, while a persuasive essay will offer the reader sufficient information to support the views stated in the topic sentence.

Christy Bowles has 15 years of experience in the field of education, with 10 years working in mental health and wellness. She specializes in the treatment of depression, anxiety and substance abuse, with a focus on alternative treatment modalities. Bowles holds a Master of Education from Harvard University.