Navigating a Diverse Paradigm: A Conceptual Framework for Experimental Framing Effects Research

Main Article Content

Douglas M. McLeod
Hyesun Choung
Min-Hsin Su
Sang-Jung Kim
Ran Tao
Jiawei Liu
ByungGu Lee


This review introduces a conceptual framework with three elements to highlight the richness of the framing effects literature, while providing structure to address its fragmented nature. Our first element identifies and discusses the Enduring Issues that confront framing effects researchers. Second, we introduce the Semantic Architecture Model (SAM), which builds on the premise that meaning can be framed at different textual units within a text, which can form the basis of frame manipulations in framing effects experiments. Third, we provide an Inventory of Framing Effects Research Components used in framing effects research illustrated with salient examples from the framing effects literature. By offering this conceptual framework, we make the case for revitalizing framing effects research.


Article Details

How to Cite
McLeod, D. M., Choung, H., Su, M.-H., Kim, S.-J., Tao, R., Liu, J., & Lee, B. (2021). Navigating a Diverse Paradigm: A Conceptual Framework for Experimental Framing Effects Research. Review of Communication Research, 10. Retrieved from
Mass Communication
Author Biographies

Douglas M. McLeod, University of Wisconsin--Madison

Douglas M. McLeod is the Evjue Centennial Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication. His research develops three lines of inquiry: 1) social conflicts and the mass media; 2) media framing effects, and 3) public opinion. He focuses on the role of the media in both domestic and international conflicts, news coverage of social protest and its effects on audiences. McLeod has published more than 100 journal articles, book chapters, and law reviews. He recently published News Framing and National Security: Covering Big Brother examines how news framing of domestic surveillance influences audience assessments of issues related to national security and civil liberties.

Hyesun Choung, Michigan State University

Hyesun Choung is a post-doctoral fellow in the College of Communication and Arts at Michigan State University. Her research focuses on three areas of inquiry: (1) how individual motivations, predispositions, and emotions affect the way in which people process information; (2) how message frames affect the audience’s understanding of public affairs; and (3) how to build persuasive message frames for political, health, and science applications.

Min-Hsin Su, University of Wisconsin--Madison

Min-Hsin Su is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research examines how communication technologies shape the ways citizens engage with political messages in a polarized political environment.

Sang-Jung Kim, University of Wisconsin--Madison

Sang Jung Kim is a Ph.D. candidate at the School of Journalism & Mass Communication, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her interest focuses on the interaction between technology and the politics of social identities.

Ran Tao, University of Wisconsin--Madison

Ran Tao is a doctoral student at the School of Journalism & Mass Communication, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research focuses on how the interplay between emotion and cognition influences the effects of persuasive messages.

Jiawei Liu, Cornell University

Jiawei Liu is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Communication at Cornell University. Liu’s research interests revolve around using empirical methods to investigate the effects of mass media messages regarding various public policy issues and public health issues.


ByungGu Lee, University of Wisconsin--Madison

ByungGu Lee received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication. His research examines cognitive effects of mediated messages in the contexts of political and health communication.




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