Abstract. We introduce a unifying framework for hybridization of finite element methods for second order elliptic problems. The methods fitting in the framework are a general class of mixed-dual finite element methods including hybridized mixed, continuous Galerkin, non-conforming and a new wide class of hybridizable discontinuous Galerkin methods. The main feature of the methods in this framework is that their approximate solutions can be expressed in an element-by-element fashion in terms of an approximate trace satisfying a global weak formulation. Since the associated matrix is symmetric and positive definite, these methods can be efficiently implemented. Moreover, the framework allows, in a single implementation, the use of different methods in different elements or subdomains of the computational domain which are then automatically coupled. Finally, the framework brings about a new point of view thanks to which it is possible to see how to devise novel methods displaying new, extremely localized and simple mortaring techniques, as well as methods permitting an even further reduction of the number of globally coupled degrees of freedom. 1
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