Barkley Forum Emory National Debate Institute Debate Manual Page 3
The Debate Tournament
Debate tournaments are held so that students from various schools can gather and competein order to determine who has a superior plan to solve a problem that exists within the presentsystem. When one arrives at the tournament location, it is generally a good idea to wait in themain lobby or in the student center where the pairings are posted. It is relatively easy to locate thisplace by following the largest crowd of people. The pairings or schematics are lists indicating theteams that are debating, the room number, and the judge. There is a different pairing for everyround. Generally, the debate rounds occur in classrooms. After one reads the pairing, it is a wiseidea to nd the assigned room as soon as possible so as not to delay the tournament. Maps areoften available to help nd the location of the rooms.When both of the teams and the judge arrive in the room, the round begins. Most students donot have a clear idea of what to do in the rst few debate rounds. When unsure about procedures,one should not hesitate to ask the judge for help. Eventually one becomes more comfortable de-bating and the nervousness will subside.
There are usually ve or six preliminary rounds in a tournament. All teams present at the tour-nament participate in these rounds. Sometimes, there are also elimination rounds. Generally thetop sixteen teams advance to the elimination rounds. Once elimination rounds begin, the teamwho wins a debate round advance while the other team is eliminated from the tournament. Theteams with the best record in the preliminary rounds advance to the elimination rounds. A novicecan benet greatly by watching the more experienced debaters in these rounds.Also, updating research and practicing speech skills are a must for success.
Explanation of the Resolution
The purpose of the resolution is to limit the debate. The resolution al-lows for an even distribution of ground for both the afrmative and negativeteams. For example, the resolution for the 1993 season was Resolved: that thefederal government should guarantee comprehensive national health insuranceto all US citizens. The purpose of the resolution is to set the year’s problemarea. The problem area is the situation that the afrmative team is attempt-ing to solve. From the example, one can see that the problem area is healthinsurance. The intent of the afrmative team would be to solve the problemarea. To solve the problem area, in this example, the afrmative would haveto provide health insurance for American citizens.
Stock Issues and the Resolution
The stock issues are the ve afrmative burdens that have traditionally been used to show thatthe afrmative case is a good example of the resolution. These stock issues are prima facie, thatis, the afrmative must meet these burdens to win the round because the burden of proof lies withthe afrmative.
Topicality is the stock issue that insures that the afrmative team stays within the frameworkof the resolution. Any violation, or failure to meet a particular word, of the resolution proves that
The Elements of Debate
(Adapted From the Peach State Debate Classic Handbook)