Rostrum WA | Debating Guidelines
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Debating Guidelines

Guidelines For Debating

Based on guidelines produced by Freeman David Carlson

1. Topics

A good debating topic is one which is easily debated in both the positive and in the negative. For example:

“That incentive payments are the best means of ensuring peace in industry.” “That euthanasia should be made legal”.”

2. Preparing the Case

Techniques of preparation of the case:
Analyse the question: What does it really mean?
Master the subject – research/knowledge/understanding.
Arrangement of the subject – planning of the attack.
Investigate contra arguments – be prepared for what your opponents might say. Teamwork is a vital element of debating

3. Presentation

Define terms – vital – often the key.
Outline teamwork.
Logical application.
Balance and perspective – concentrate on the main issues. Combative elements – need for rebuttal.

Summing up – the essential conclusion.

4. Duties of the speakers

4.1 Speaker 1 – Affirmative

Opens the team’s argument.
Announces what each speaker will contribute to the team effort. Defines the terms.
Presents his/her part of the team’s case.

4.2 Speaker 1 – Negative

Opens the team’s argument.
Announces what each speaker will contribute to the team effort. Attacks the Affirmative definitions and attempts to adjust them to his/her team’s advantage.
Presents some rebuttal of affirmative speaker 1’s material Presents his/her part of the team’s case.

4.3 Speaker 2 – Affirmative

Presents some rebuttal of affirmative speaker 1’s material. Presents his/her part of the team’s argument. This should be the body of the team’s effort.

4.4 Speaker 2 – Negative

Presents some rebuttal of affirmative speaker 2’s material Presents his/her part of the team’s argument. This should be the body of the team’s effort.

4.5 Speaker 3 – Affirmative

Presents a comprehensive rebuttal of negative team’s argument.
Sums up the affirmative team’s case and summarises it with a strong peroration.

4.6 Speaker 3 – Negative

Presents a comprehensive rebuttal of affirmative team’s argument. New material is not introduced.
Sums up the negative team’s case and summarises it with a strong peroration.

5. Method of Adjudication

Analysis of each speaker’s performance is based on scoring for three areas of their speech that they delivered over the course the debate.

5.1 Matter

Substantial argument, reinforced by examples and illustrations.

5.2 Manner

Vocal sound (volume, clarity, variety, audience contact), appearance (stance, facial expression), gesture and use of notes.

5.3 Method

Architecture of a speech and of the team case – teamwork is a vital element.

5.4 Scoring matrix

 

Click here to download or view a PDF of Rostrum WA’s Guidelines for debating.