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Frameworks: An alternative to the top-of-case

More informal cases than stock issues have a different format for the TOC.

Frameworks are especially common in high school parli, and depending on the location, may even be found in the majority of cases.

Frameworks are useful in many circumstances and can be much more flexible than a formal parli top-of-case. However, they tend to be highly localized and may not appear legitimate in certain regions, so the best thing to do is check up on local customs!

Personally, I have observed that frameworks are more common on the East Coast, but they are found all over.

Frameworks are useful in many circumstances and can be much more flexible than a formal parli top-of-case.


A framework is just a criteria the gov brings up to win the round. Rather like a weighing mechanism, value, and voting criteria all rolled into one, they tend to be a philosophical idea or concept. Whichever team adheres more to the framework wins the round, so every argument must be weighed upon it!

Ex. gov could bring up the framework of quality of life for workers in a resolution about worker's unions. That means both gov and opp have to argue that their side of the resolution is better for workers.

Frameworks can also include definitions, if needed. But definitions tend to be a lot less common in this type of case. Frameworks are compatible with any case type, since they simply propose an idea with which to weigh the round.

Specifically for policy rounds, the framework may also include a specific plan before all of the contentions, comparative-advantage style, if the plan is not simply the resolution.

Why frameworks

Some locations in high school, especially in the East Coast, heavily prefer frameworks. It's a great idea to become proficient in them because they are so prevalent in important regions.

They provide a great deal of flexibility, since any criteria can be used in any case type. Frameworks lack the rigidity of weighing mechanisms and values in powerful ways.

For instance, you could weigh a policy round on a non-consequentialist ideal, unlike stock issues, which are typically very util-oriented.

Opp Responses

Just like for the top-of-case, the opp can argue with the framework. Sometimes, they present a counter-framework and argue it is a better way to weigh the round.

Counter-frameworks tend to be more common than formal topicalities on the TOC, and teams usually end up arguing that they win on both frameworks.

Last Words

Remember to keep an ear open for regional customs, since frameworks vary in popularity. In truth, a lot of elements from the top-of-case and frameworks are transferrable, so either does not take much time to get used to.

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