You are on page 1of 12

NOTES ON HOW TO DEBATE...!!!!

HOW TO DEBATE What is Debating? A debate is a structured argument. Two sides speak alternately for and against a particular contention usually based on a topical issue. Unlike the arguments you might have with your family or friends however, each person is allocated a time they are allowed to speak for and any interjections are carefully controlled. The subject of the dispute is often prearranged so you may find yourself having to support opinions with which you do not normally agree. You also have to argue as part of a team, being careful not to contradict what others on your side have said. Why debate? It is an excellent way of improving speaking skills and is particularly helpful in providing experience in developing a convincing argument. Those of you who are forced to argue against your natural point of view realize that arguments, like coins, always have at least two sides.

DANIEL BIAS PESARE


debates. Speaking too quietly is clearly disastrous since no one will be able to hear you. Clarity The ability to concisely and clearly express complex issues is what debating is all about. The main reason people begin to sound unclear is usually because they lose the stream of thought which is keeping them going. It is also important to keep it simple. While long words may make you sound clever, they may also make you incomprehensible. Use of notes and eye contact Notes are essential, but they must be brief and well organized to be effective. There is absolutely no point in trying to speak without notes. Of course, notes should never become obtrusive and damage your contact with the audience, nor should they ever be read from verbatim. Most people sketch out the main headings of their speech, with brief notes under each. When writing notes for rebuttal during the debate, it is usually better to use a

CSNA-1
separate sheet of paper so you can take down the details of what the other speakers have said and then transfer a rough outline onto the notes you will actually be using. Eye contact with the audience is very important, but keep shifting your gaze. No one likes to be stared at. Content Content is what you actually say in the debate. The arguments used to develop your own sides case and rebut the opposite sides. The information on content provided below is a general overview of what will be expected when you debate. The final logistics of how long you will be debating, how many people will be in your group, and how the debate will unfold (ie: which team speaks first etc.), will all be decided by your tutorial leader. Case (argument)- the whole Introduction - The case your group is making must be outlined in the introduction. This involves stating your main

AUGUST 23,2013
arguments and explaining the general thrust of your case. This must be done briefly since the most important thing is to get on and actually argue it. It is also a good idea to indicate the aspects of the subject to be discussed by each of the team members. Conclusion - At the end, once everyone has spoken, it is useful to briefly summarize what your group has said and why.

The Basic Debating Skills Style Style is the manner in which you communicate your arguments. This is the most basic part of debating to master. Content and strategy are worth little unless you deliver your material in a confident and persuasive way. Speed It is vital to talk at a pace which is fast enough to sound intelligent and allow you time to say what you want, but slow enough to be easily understood. Tone Varying tone is what makes you sound interesting. Listening to one tone for an entire presentation is boring. Volume Speaking quite loudly is sometimes a necessity, but it is by no means necessary to shout through every debate regardless of context. There is absolutely no need speak any more loudly than the volume at which everyone in the room can comfortably hear you. Shouting does not win

Case (argument)- the parts Having outlined the whole of your argument, you must then begin to build a case (the parts). The best way to do this is to divide your case into between two and four arguments (or divide your case based on the number of people in your group). You must justify your arguments with basic logic, worked examples, statistics, and quotes. Debating is all about the strategy of proof. Proof, or evidence, supporting your assertion is what makes it an argument. There are a number

NOTES ON HOW TO DEBATE...!!!!


of ways of dividing up cases according to groups of arguments (eg political/economic/social or moral/practical or international/regional etc.) or just according to individual arguments if you cant group any together. Under each of these basic headings you should then explain the reasoning behind the argument and justify it using the methods outlined above. It is usually best to put the most important arguments first. Here is an example of a case outline: The media exert more influence over what people think than the government does. This is true for three reasons. Firstly, most people base their votes on what they see and hear in the media.Secondly, the media can set the political agenda between elections by deciding what issues to report and in how much detail. Thirdly, the media have successfully demonized politicians over the last ten years so that now people are more likely to

DANIEL BIAS PESARE


more young people to smoke because it will make smoking more mysterious and taboo. This is logically flawed, the ban would be more likely to stop the steady stream of images which make smoking seem attractive and glamorous and actually reduce the number of young people smoking. 3. My partner will then look at the economic issues... Blah..blah..blah...(5 minutes later and still no mention of the economic issues) This is a clear failure to explain a major part of the case and attention should be drawn to it. Even better is when a speaker starts with, to win this debate there are three things I must do. If the speaker fails to do any of those things you can then hang her or him by the noose by repeating their exact words by his or her own admission he or she cannot have won the debate. Rebuttal the whole: It is very important to have a good perspective of the debate and to identify what the key arguments are. It isnt enough to rebut a few random

CSNA-1
arguments here and there. Of course the techniques used above are invaluable but they must be used appropriately. There are a number of things you should do to systematically break down a teams case: 1. Ask yourself how the other side have approached the case. Is their methodology flawed? 2. Consider what tasks the other side set themselves (if any) and whether they have in fact addressed these. 3. Consider what the general emphasis of the case is and what assumptions it makes. Try to refute these. 4. Take the main arguments and do the same thing. It is not worth repeating a point of rebuttal that has been used by someone else already, but you can refer to it to show that the argument has not stood up. It is not necessary to correct every example used. You wont have time and your aim is to show the other sides case to be flawed in the key areas. How to Debate: The Basics 1. THE SPEECHES

AUGUST 23,2013
new or worsening cough cialis What is your opinion or cialis viagra. You can utilize additional tablets every minutes, however , not in excess of tablets within a few minutes cialis genaric. Each team consists of two speakers: For Gov, the Prime Minister (PM) and Member of Government; for Opp, the Leader of Opposition (LO) and Member of Opposition (MO). They speak in the following order: SPEECH / LENGTH / TASK PMC / 7 min / Present the case and the arguments for it. LOC / 8 min / Present independent points arguing against the case, rebut arguments presented by PM. MGC / 8 min / Rebut LO, reconstruct case. MOC / 8 min / Last speech in which new arguments or

believe journalists than politicians. All of the arguments in this case outline are debatable (almost immediately you can see the counter-arguments), but they give the case a wide range which cover all kinds of issues. The trick is not to come up with a watertight case, but a well argued one. Think: Can I argue that? Rebuttal the parts Arguments can be factually, morally or logically flawed. They may be misinterpretations or they may also be unimportant or irrelevant. A team may also contradict one another or fail to complete the tasks they set themselves. These are the basics of rebuttal and almost every argument can be found wanting in at least one of these respects. Here are a few examples: 1. Compulsory euthanasia at age 70 would save the country money in pensions and healthcare. This is true, but is morally flawed. 2. Banning cigarette product placement in films will cause

NOTES ON HOW TO DEBATE...!!!!


POIs are allowed. Frame the round, respond to the important points on the flow. LOR / 4 min / Crystallize: the round comes down to x,y,z; why opp wins PMR / 5 min / Respond to new arguments made by MO, crystallize. The first four speeches are called constructives. During these speeches, new points can (and should) be made, and the other team can stand up on POIs. The last two speeches are the rebuttals. These are not intended to present new information, although they can contain new illustrative examples and the PMR can contain new responces to new arguments made in the MOC. The rebuttals are meant to sum up the round, distilling it down to three main issues or questions, and to show

DANIEL BIAS PESARE


make a flow, and you should experiment with a couple to find the one that is most intuitive for you. The idea of flowing is that you want to be able to trace an agrument through the entire round. You want to be able to quickly see how it evolved and what the responses to it were, and you definitely need to know if the other side didnt address it. Learning to flow is one of the most difficult skills you will need to acquire, but it is also the most important. A good flow will help you hit every point and orient yourself in the debate. The top of the flow (the half on which you record the governments constructive arguments) is also called govs case, caseside, or just case, and the bottom of the flow (where you record the opps constructive arguments) is

CSNA-1
called off-case or opps case. When you give your speech, you go from the bottom of the flow to the top (but not backwards through the points. Well go over all of this in person). Thus, the LO gives his points on the bottom, then goes up to case. The MG can put a new point on the flow, which would go below the LOs points, then responds to the LOs points, then goes caseside. The MO throws their own points onto the very bottom of the flow, then deals with the MGs new points (if there were any), then reconstructs the LOs case, then goes case-side. This may seem confusing, but just remember to go bottoms-up, just like you will at the party, with the cheap beer. 3. POINTS During your speech, the members of the other

AUGUST 23,2013
teams can stand on a number of points. Point of Clarification (POC) - asked immediately after the PM gives the case statement. This should NOT be an argument. This should only be used if you are confused by the case or need to know something about the case which the PM has not mentioned. During POCs, time stops. Example: The PM gives case statement as, You have the option to become immortal. Dont take it.A good clarification to ask is, will you also be invulnerable? Another good clarification to ask is, will you age? A bad clarification to ask is, will you also get superpowers? Point of Information (POI) - asked in between the first and last minutes of the constructive speeches. It should be an incisive, destructive, clever, or

definitively that the current speakers team has won. 2. THE FLOW Debaters practice a special form of note-taking called flowing. They record the major arguments made in each of the speeches on a piece of paper called a flow. Signposting is the practice of letting the judge know exactly where you are on the flow. So when you make your first argument, you should say something along these lines: the first thing we want to talk about is the law, and our first point under the idea of the law is This makes your speech easy to follow, and that definitely makes you sound both more polished and more compelling. Most of us use legal pads to flow rounds. There is more than one way to

NOTES ON HOW TO DEBATE...!!!!


interesting argument, made in the form of a question that usually directly relates to what the speaker has just been saying. Example: PM: Clearly, you will benefit enormously from being able to interact with and befriend a far greater number of people from all over the world because, as an immortal, you have more time. Good POI: And how will you feel as you watch everyone you know die, over and over again? Bad POI: Wont you also meet more annoying people? The debater who is speaking can choose whether or not to take a POI. When you want to ask a POI, you stand up with one hand on your head and the other stretched out in front of you, palm up. This is to make sure that your powdered wig stays on,

DANIEL BIAS PESARE


Point of Personal Privilege - If the speaker starts ranting extensively about how your mother is a filthy whore whos been around the block more times than the village bicycle, then, and only then, stand and say to the judge: point of personal privelege, my mother is not at issue here, and I am offended by these remarks. It is the judges job to rule on the point. Really, really, really dont use this point unless something egregiously bad is happening. You should never have to use this point. Point of Order - Stand up on a point of order when a rule of debate is being violated, and only then. For example, if the speaker is two minutes over his time, stand up, turn to the judge, and say, point of order, this speech is two

CSNA-1
minutes over time. Dont worry about interrupting the person speaking talk over them. Its good sportsmanship to let it slide if you went over time and they didnt stand on you, however. No new arguments are allowed in rebuttal speeches. Listen to them carefully, and if youre certain that a brand-new argument is being made, stand up and say, point of order, the idea that you can get robotic limbs is new. Then sit down; the judge will rule on the point. Never argue with the judge. His ruling is final. 4. CALLS You can run almost any case you want on APDA; there is enormous latitude. There are, however, some rules governing how you run your case. If the gov team breaks one of these

AUGUST 23,2013
rules, it is the LOs job to point it out at the beginning of their speech. If you dont do this in LOC, you cant do it in MOC or LOR, so pay attention. Tightness A case is tight if it is literally impossible to beat. For example, the case we propose that teenagers shouldnt be legally able to brutally mutilate their parents with broomsticks is tight. There is absolutely no way in which you can convince the judge that this would be a good idea. If you hit a tight case, and youre sure, then this is what you do: LOC: Call the case tight. Explain why the case is tight. Go through every argument you could possibly make, and explain why that isnt enough to beat the case. For example, you should say, I could argue that the government shouldnt interfere in the

and to demonstrate that you arent holding a weapon: a touch of the British Parliament. The speaker will then let you know whether or not he wants to take the POI. Its good form to take two or three, but dont feel like you have to take them every time they get up. To let the person standing know that you dont want to take them, you can wave them down, tell them not at this time, or I just took one if theyre standing up every five seconds like a jack-in-the-box. If they stand during the first or last minute of your speech, just say youre out of order. Its important that you ask POIs. Use them to set up arguments youll make later, throw people off balance, or just look like youre on the ball. Judges pay attention.

NOTES ON HOW TO DEBATE...!!!!


private life of the family. But that argument isnt strong enough to win me the case, because a society in which brutal mutilation is legal doesnt appeal even to the most extreme libertarian, and it is an unreasonable burden for opp to defend. All gov has to say is, would you want to live in such a society? No, and we would lose the round. Talk about the arguments that the PM made and why there is no adequate response. Yes, violence is bad. What do they expect us to say here? MGC: None of you will ever run a tight case, of course, but if one of your cases is called tight, then the ONLY voting issue in the round is whether or not the case is actually tight. That is the ONLY thing that the judge is going to be basing his decision on. It is the MG's job to prove

DANIEL BIAS PESARE


be published in the tournament packets. If you have any questions about the specific policy at any tournament, ask a varsity team member to clarify it for you, so that you know what to do. Status Quo A status quo case argues for something that is already in place. The above example of a tight case is also status quo, because brutally mutilating someone is already illegal. If you hit a status quo case, call it status quo at the top of LOC, but dont dwell on it, because you still have to opp it as usual. Just point it out in the form of an observation, make a face at the judge like gov messed up and jump into your independent points. Spec Knowledge A spec (specific) case is based on knowledge that

CSNA-1
the average college student who reads the NYT cant be expected to have. For example, the case NASA should switch to UR454 fuel instead of UG76 is spec, because you arent a rocket scientist. Just as you do with status quo cases, call the case spec at the top of LOC, then go on to make the best arguments you can be creative. Youve let the judge know that you have a lower burden to meet, but you still have to meet it. For example, you could say that switching fuel will probably be expensive because different kinds of engines process fuel differently you know this because buses run on diesel, and some cars require certain grades of fuel that others dont. Also, if the fuel is new, it is probably untested in space, and you dont want to risk a multi-billion dollar

AUGUST 23,2013
disaster. Low Impact If their case has little or no effect, observe that it is low impact at the top of LOC, then proceed as usual. For example, the case more paperclips should be triangular is low impact. Its boring, it doesnt change anything significant, and it doesnt merit an hour of your time. If a case is this boring, be funny. Make the judge wish that your team was speaking every time the other team starts talking about conserving aluminum. 5. CASES Other than the rules described above, there is no real limit to what you can debate about on APDA. Topics range from legal theory to international relations to history, and so on. The

definitively that the case is not tight. If youre the MG, give every argument against your case and demonstrate that they are strong enough to beat the case if they are made well. MOC: Show why the arguments the MG made against the case are not actually enough to beat it, and why the case is NOT debatable. LOR: More of the same, but in the form of crystallization. Remember, even if they come up with a potential argument you could have made, show that on balance their side is necessarily far stronger than yours. Remind the judge that tightness is the only voting issue. PMR: Your last chance to convince the judge that the case really is debatable and opp just didnt do its job. Warning: some schools have tight call policies that differ from this. They will

NOTES ON HOW TO DEBATE...!!!!


only limit is your imagination. That said, cases do fall into several distinct categories. Straightforward Example: The US should interfere in Sudan. Congress should pass a law. Women should stay in the kitchen. Most cases on APDA are a simple proposal that some action be taken. Historical Example: Hitler should not have invaded Russia. The US should not have dropped the bomb on Nagasaki. Many cases propose that a decision made in the past should have been made differently. Time-space Example: Youre Hitler, dont invade Russia. Youre the US in WWII, dont drop the bomb on Nagasaki. In a time-space case, the judge is put in the position of the you, and you have

DANIEL BIAS PESARE


one. If your case is really crazy, its good manners to make it opp-choice. For example, if your case takes place on Zabiton three and involves a talking tree frog with a magic ring and three daughters, consider oppchoicing it. Stock Example: Legalize marijuana. Stock cases have been around for a long time. Its not the end of the world if you run one, but you risk boring the judge if theyve seen it before. 6. WRITING A CASE Choose a topic that interests you. Well talk more about writing cases during one of the novice training sessions: its best done through interactive examples. Meanwhile, here is an example of a structure for your case.

CSNA-1
We propose X 1. PHILOSOPHICAL POINT a. your best argument b. argument c. argument 2. OTHER POINT a. argument b. argument c. argument 3. PRAGMATIC POINT a. argument b. argument c. devastating, tricky, or unanswerable argument

AUGUST 23,2013
The judge fills out a ballot on which he records comments, speaker points, ranks, a reason for decision (RFD), and the winner of the round. "Speaks" - Speaker points are awarded on a scale of 20-30. At most tournaments, half-points are allowed. 20 You walked up to the judge, punched him in the face, then sat down. Not given out. 21 You were vulgar, racist, and rude for the entire 45 seconds that you spoke. 22 You made many serious mistakes, didnt fill time, and mumbled. 23 This was one of the worst speeches at the tournament. 24 You were below average, but not actually miserable. 25 You were average.

to base your arguments solely on information that would have been available to the you in the past. Thus, you can argue against a two-front war on general principles, but you cant argue that the invasion of Russia didnt succeed, because you dont know that yet. Opp can, however, argue that as Hitler, you believe that the Russian people are weak communists of inferior racial stock who will never be able to stand before the mighty arm of the Reich, whose destiny it is to rule all the world. That is because arguments specific to the psychology of the you are acceptable. Opp-Choice Example: Youre a ruler. Would you rather be feared or loved? This is an example of an opp-choice case, which means that you present opp with two options, and they choose

For case ideas, read newspapers and watch videos of debate rounds on line. What do you always find yourself arguing about? What famous story or myth could end happily if someone just made a different choice? Talk to members of the team and brainstorm a list of possible cases to work on with them. 7. THE BALLOT

NOTES ON HOW TO DEBATE...!!!!


Not great, not awful. 26 This was a great speech. You made good arguments well. 27 This is one of the best speeches at the tournament. These are very rare. 28 You changed the judge on a fundamental level. He cried. He wants to have your babies and your babies babies. 29 You are Martin Luther Kings baby. The one he had with Jesus and Ghandi. Not given out. 30 Perfection is unattainable. Dont worry about getting low speaks. Its going to take you time to find a style that works for you, and there are a lot of technical things about debate that are going to become second nature to you soon but that may trip you up at first. A reasonable goal to shoot

DANIEL BIAS PESARE


the team youre hitting, the room, and the name of the judge. If your teammates know who youre hitting and whos judging you, they can give you useful advice. Get to the room quickly. Once both teams and the judge arrive and write their names on the board, the gov team can take ten minutes to prep out their case. When they come back, the judge calls the house to order and invites the PM to speak. At the end of the round, shake hands with the other team, thank the judge, and get out. It is very poor form to discuss the round after its over in front of the judge, so dont do it. Go back to GA and hang out with your teammates and all your new friends from other teams. When all of the ballots are in to the Tab room and they pair the next round, the hosts will read pairings for the

CSNA-1

AUGUST 23,2013
How to Debate: The Basics

for is to be getting mostly 25's after youve been to a good number of tournaments. "Ranks" - Each of the four debaters in the round is ranked from 1-4, with 1 being the best. 8. HOW TOURNAMENTS WORK Everyone shows up around 4pm on Friday to register and pay the tournament fees. Then they go to General Assembly (GA), usually some large lecture hall, to drop their stuff and hang out with the other debaters. When everything is ready, pairings are read. They are usually read in this order: team on gov, team on opp, name of judge, room where round is happening. Listen for your team name, write down whether or not youre on opp or gov, the name of

second round. After second round, they provide dinner, usually pizza. After third round, they will make sure you get to housing, and give you directions to the party. Go to the party! On Saturday morning, around 10, head back to GA for bagels and coffee and the last two rounds. Theres a banquet after fifth round. After the banquet, the host team reads the break, the list of teams going on to elimination rounds. If youre in the novice break, ROCK ON! Anyone who isnt in the break should go support the Brandeis teams that are. If no one from Brandeis is breaking, support new friends or go watch an interesting round. After the final round and the awards ceremony, we head home, often stopping for a team dinner at a diner along the way.

1. THE SPEECHES new or worsening cough cialis What is your opinion or cialis viagra. You can utilize additional tablets every minutes, however , not in excess of tablets within a few minutes cialis genaric. Each team consists of two speakers: For Gov, the Prime Minister (PM) and Member of Government; for Opp, the Leader of Opposition (LO) and Member of Opposition (MO). They speak in the following order: SPEECH / LENGTH / TASK PMC / 7 min / Present the case and the arguments for it. LOC / 8 min / Present independent points arguing against the case, rebut arguments presented

NOTES ON HOW TO DEBATE...!!!!


by PM. MGC / 8 min / Rebut LO, reconstruct case. MOC / 8 min / Last speech in which new arguments or POIs are allowed. Frame the round, respond to the important points on the flow. LOR / 4 min / Crystallize: the round comes down to x,y,z; why opp wins PMR / 5 min / Respond to new arguments made by MO, crystallize. The first four speeches are called constructives. During these speeches, new points can (and should) be made, and the other team can stand up on POIs. The last two speeches are the rebuttals. These are not intended to present new information, although they can contain new illustrative examples and the PMR can contain new responces to new arguments made in the MOC. The rebuttals are

DANIEL BIAS PESARE


Most of us use legal pads to flow rounds. There is more than one way to make a flow, and you should experiment with a couple to find the one that is most intuitive for you. The idea of flowing is that you want to be able to trace an agrument through the entire round. You want to be able to quickly see how it evolved and what the responses to it were, and you definitely need to know if the other side didnt address it. Learning to flow is one of the most difficult skills you will need to acquire, but it is also the most important. A good flow will help you hit every point and orient yourself in the debate. The top of the flow (the half on which you record the governments constructive arguments) is also called govs case, case-

CSNA-1
side, or just case, and the bottom of the flow (where you record the opps constructive arguments) is called off-case or opps case. When you give your speech, you go from the bottom of the flow to the top (but not backwards through the points. Well go over all of this in person). Thus, the LO gives his points on the bottom, then goes up to case. The MG can put a new point on the flow, which would go below the LOs points, then responds to the LOs points, then goes caseside. The MO throws their own points onto the very bottom of the flow, then deals with the MGs new points (if there were any), then reconstructs the LOs case, then goes case-side. This may seem confusing, but just remember to go bottoms-up, just like you will at the party, with the cheap beer.

AUGUST 23,2013
3. POINTS During your speech, the members of the other teams can stand on a number of points. Point of Clarification (POC) - asked immediately after the PM gives the case statement. This should NOT be an argument. This should only be used if you are confused by the case or need to know something about the case which the PM has not mentioned. During POCs, time stops. Example: The PM gives case statement as, You have the option to become immortal. Dont take it.A good clarification to ask is, will you also be invulnerable? Another good clarification to ask is, will you age? A bad clarification to ask is, will you also get superpowers? Point of Information (POI) - asked in between the first

meant to sum up the round, distilling it down to three main issues or questions, and to show definitively that the current speakers team has won. 2. THE FLOW Debaters practice a special form of note-taking called flowing. They record the major arguments made in each of the speeches on a piece of paper called a flow. Signposting is the practice of letting the judge know exactly where you are on the flow. So when you make your first argument, you should say something along these lines: the first thing we want to talk about is the law, and our first point under the idea of the law is This makes your speech easy to follow, and that definitely makes you sound both more polished and more compelling.

NOTES ON HOW TO DEBATE...!!!!


and last minutes of the constructive speeches. It should be an incisive, destructive, clever, or interesting argument, made in the form of a question that usually directly relates to what the speaker has just been saying. Example: PM: Clearly, you will benefit enormously from being able to interact with and befriend a far greater number of people from all over the world because, as an immortal, you have more time. Good POI: And how will you feel as you watch everyone you know die, over and over again? Bad POI: Wont you also meet more annoying people? The debater who is speaking can choose whether or not to take a POI. When you want to ask a POI, you stand up with one hand on your head and

DANIEL BIAS PESARE


later, throw people off balance, or just look like youre on the ball. Judges pay attention. Point of Personal Privilege - If the speaker starts ranting extensively about how your mother is a filthy whore whos been around the block more times than the village bicycle, then, and only then, stand and say to the judge: point of personal privelege, my mother is not at issue here, and I am offended by these remarks. It is the judges job to rule on the point. Really, really, really dont use this point unless something egregiously bad is happening. You should never have to use this point. Point of Order - Stand up on a point of order when a rule of debate is being violated, and only then. For example, if the speaker

CSNA-1
is two minutes over his time, stand up, turn to the judge, and say, point of order, this speech is two minutes over time. Dont worry about interrupting the person speaking talk over them. Its good sportsmanship to let it slide if you went over time and they didnt stand on you, however. No new arguments are allowed in rebuttal speeches. Listen to them carefully, and if youre certain that a brand-new argument is being made, stand up and say, point of order, the idea that you can get robotic limbs is new. Then sit down; the judge will rule on the point. Never argue with the judge. His ruling is final. 4. CALLS You can run almost any case you want on APDA; there is enormous latitude.

AUGUST 23,2013
There are, however, some rules governing how you run your case. If the gov team breaks one of these rules, it is the LOs job to point it out at the beginning of their speech. If you dont do this in LOC, you cant do it in MOC or LOR, so pay attention. Tightness A case is tight if it is literally impossible to beat. For example, the case we propose that teenagers shouldnt be legally able to brutally mutilate their parents with broomsticks is tight. There is absolutely no way in which you can convince the judge that this would be a good idea. If you hit a tight case, and youre sure, then this is what you do: LOC: Call the case tight. Explain why the case is tight. Go through every argument you could possibly make, and explain why that isnt enough to

the other stretched out in front of you, palm up. This is to make sure that your powdered wig stays on, and to demonstrate that you arent holding a weapon: a touch of the British Parliament. The speaker will then let you know whether or not he wants to take the POI. Its good form to take two or three, but dont feel like you have to take them every time they get up. To let the person standing know that you dont want to take them, you can wave them down, tell them not at this time, or I just took one if theyre standing up every five seconds like a jack-in-the-box. If they stand during the first or last minute of your speech, just say youre out of order. Its important that you ask POIs. Use them to set up arguments youll make

NOTES ON HOW TO DEBATE...!!!!


beat the case. For example, you should say, I could argue that the government shouldnt interfere in the private life of the family. But that argument isnt strong enough to win me the case, because a society in which brutal mutilation is legal doesnt appeal even to the most extreme libertarian, and it is an unreasonable burden for opp to defend. All gov has to say is, would you want to live in such a society? No, and we would lose the round. Talk about the arguments that the PM made and why there is no adequate response. Yes, violence is bad. What do they expect us to say here? MGC: None of you will ever run a tight case, of course, but if one of your cases is called tight, then the ONLY voting issue in the round is whether or not the case is actually tight.

DANIEL BIAS PESARE


case really is debatable and opp just didnt do its job. Warning: some schools have tight call policies that differ from this. They will be published in the tournament packets. If you have any questions about the specific policy at any tournament, ask a varsity team member to clarify it for you, so that you know what to do. Status Quo A status quo case argues for something that is already in place. The above example of a tight case is also status quo, because brutally mutilating someone is already illegal. If you hit a status quo case, call it status quo at the top of LOC, but dont dwell on it, because you still have to opp it as usual. Just point it out in the form of an observation, make a face at the judge like gov messed up and jump into your

CSNA-1
independent points. Spec Knowledge A spec (specific) case is based on knowledge that the average college student who reads the NYT cant be expected to have. For example, the case NASA should switch to UR454 fuel instead of UG76 is spec, because you arent a rocket scientist. Just as you do with status quo cases, call the case spec at the top of LOC, then go on to make the best arguments you can be creative. Youve let the judge know that you have a lower burden to meet, but you still have to meet it. For example, you could say that switching fuel will probably be expensive because different kinds of engines process fuel differently you know this because buses run on diesel, and some cars require certain grades of

AUGUST 23,2013
fuel that others dont. Also, if the fuel is new, it is probably untested in space, and you dont want to risk a multi-billion dollar disaster. Low Impact If their case has little or no effect, observe that it is low impact at the top of LOC, then proceed as usual. For example, the case more paperclips should be triangular is low impact. Its boring, it doesnt change anything significant, and it doesnt merit an hour of your time. If a case is this boring, be funny. Make the judge wish that your team was speaking every time the other team starts talking about conserving aluminum. 5. CASES Other than the rules described above, there is no real limit to what you

That is the ONLY thing that the judge is going to be basing his decision on. It is the MG's job to prove definitively that the case is not tight. If youre the MG, give every argument against your case and demonstrate that they are strong enough to beat the case if they are made well. MOC: Show why the arguments the MG made against the case are not actually enough to beat it, and why the case is NOT debatable. LOR: More of the same, but in the form of crystallization. Remember, even if they come up with a potential argument you could have made, show that on balance their side is necessarily far stronger than yours. Remind the judge that tightness is the only voting issue. PMR: Your last chance to convince the judge that the

NOTES ON HOW TO DEBATE...!!!!


can debate about on APDA. Topics range from legal theory to international relations to history, and so on. The only limit is your imagination. That said, cases do fall into several distinct categories. Straightforward Example: The US should interfere in Sudan. Congress should pass a law. Women should stay in the kitchen. Most cases on APDA are a simple proposal that some action be taken. Historical Example: Hitler should not have invaded Russia. The US should not have dropped the bomb on Nagasaki. Many cases propose that a decision made in the past should have been made differently. Time-space Example: Youre Hitler, dont invade Russia. Youre

DANIEL BIAS PESARE


or loved? This is an example of an opp-choice case, which means that you present opp with two options, and they choose one. If your case is really crazy, its good manners to make it opp-choice. For example, if your case takes place on Zabiton three and involves a talking tree frog with a magic ring and three daughters, consider oppchoicing it. Stock Example: Legalize marijuana. Stock cases have been around for a long time. Its not the end of the world if you run one, but you risk boring the judge if theyve seen it before. 6. WRITING A CASE Choose a topic that interests you. Well talk more about writing cases during one of the novice training sessions: its best

CSNA-1
done through interactive examples. Meanwhile, here is an example of a structure for your case. We propose X 1. PHILOSOPHICAL POINT a. your best argument b. argument c. argument 2. OTHER POINT a. argument b. argument c. argument 3. PRAGMATIC POINT a. argument b. argument c. devastating, tricky, or unanswerable argument For case ideas, read newspapers and watch videos of debate rounds on line. What do you always find yourself arguing about? What famous story or myth could end happily if someone just made a different choice? Talk to members of the team and

AUGUST 23,2013
brainstorm a list of possible cases to work on with them. 7. THE BALLOT The judge fills out a ballot on which he records comments, speaker points, ranks, a reason for decision (RFD), and the winner of the round. "Speaks" - Speaker points are awarded on a scale of 20-30. At most tournaments, half-points are allowed. 20 You walked up to the judge, punched him in the face, then sat down. Not given out. 21 You were vulgar, racist, and rude for the entire 45 seconds that you spoke. 22 You made many serious mistakes, didnt fill time, and mumbled. 23 This was one of the worst speeches at the

the US in WWII, dont drop the bomb on Nagasaki. In a time-space case, the judge is put in the position of the you, and you have to base your arguments solely on information that would have been available to the you in the past. Thus, you can argue against a two-front war on general principles, but you cant argue that the invasion of Russia didnt succeed, because you dont know that yet. Opp can, however, argue that as Hitler, you believe that the Russian people are weak communists of inferior racial stock who will never be able to stand before the mighty arm of the Reich, whose destiny it is to rule all the world. That is because arguments specific to the psychology of the you are acceptable. Opp-Choice Example: Youre a ruler. Would you rather be feared

NOTES ON HOW TO DEBATE...!!!!


tournament. 24 You were below average, but not actually miserable. 25 You were average. Not great, not awful. 26 This was a great speech. You made good arguments well. 27 This is one of the best speeches at the tournament. These are very rare. 28 You changed the judge on a fundamental level. He cried. He wants to have your babies and your babies babies. 29 You are Martin Luther Kings baby. The one he had with Jesus and Ghandi. Not given out. 30 Perfection is unattainable. Dont worry about getting low speaks. Its going to take you time to find a style that works for you, and there are a lot of technical things about

DANIEL BIAS PESARE


judge, room where round is happening. Listen for your team name, write down whether or not youre on opp or gov, the name of the team youre hitting, the room, and the name of the judge. If your teammates know who youre hitting and whos judging you, they can give you useful advice. Get to the room quickly. Once both teams and the judge arrive and write their names on the board, the gov team can take ten minutes to prep out their case. When they come back, the judge calls the house to order and invites the PM to speak. At the end of the round, shake hands with the other team, thank the judge, and get out. It is very poor form to discuss the round after its over in front of the judge, so dont do it. Go back to GA and hang out with your teammates and all your new friends from other

CSNA-1

AUGUST 23,2013
round and the awards ceremony, we head home, often stopping for a team dinner at a diner along the way.

debate that are going to become second nature to you soon but that may trip you up at first. A reasonable goal to shoot for is to be getting mostly 25's after youve been to a good number of tournaments. "Ranks" - Each of the four debaters in the round is ranked from 1-4, with 1 being the best. 8. HOW TOURNAMENTS WORK Everyone shows up around 4pm on Friday to register and pay the tournament fees. Then they go to General Assembly (GA), usually some large lecture hall, to drop their stuff and hang out with the other debaters. When everything is ready, pairings are read. They are usually read in this order: team on gov, team on opp, name of

teams. When all of the ballots are in to the Tab room and they pair the next round, the hosts will read pairings for the second round. After second round, they provide dinner, usually pizza. After third round, they will make sure you get to housing, and give you directions to the party. Go to the party! On Saturday morning, around 10, head back to GA for bagels and coffee and the last two rounds. Theres a banquet after fifth round. After the banquet, the host team reads the break, the list of teams going on to elimination rounds. If youre in the novice break, ROCK ON! Anyone who isnt in the break should go support the Brandeis teams that are. If no one from Brandeis is breaking, support new friends or go watch an interesting round. After the final