Guidelines For Debating
Based on guidelines produced by Freeman David Carlson
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
Define terms – vital – often the key.
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.
Substantial argument, reinforced by examples and illustrations.
Vocal sound (volume, clarity, variety, audience contact), appearance (stance, facial expression), gesture and use of notes.
Architecture of a speech and of the team case – teamwork is a vital element.
5.4 Scoring matrix
Please see link on sidebar for a downloadable link
Guidelines for Debating
Click here to download or view a PDF of Rostrum WA’s Guidelines for debating.