You are on page 1of 4

Roles of Adjudicators

1. Decide which team won the debate.


There is no draw or tie in a debate. Only one side can win the debate. An adjudicator who doesnt know how to decide
which team won the debate must not have taken much attention on the details of the debate.
2. Determine the crucial issues in the debate.
The adjudicator shall determine the important issues that were discussed during the debate. These issues refer to those
where substantial clashes of points occured and where crucial responses were made.
3. Discuss these issues in a manner that would cover the brief summary of points of both sides, and the
explanation on how one team had an advantage over the other.
Discussion of issues are crucial. Debaters would want to hear the adjudicator's assessment of the arguments that they
have raised. The adjudicator should clearly convince the losing team why they dont receive the favorable decision on
the basis of the issues presented.
4. Rate each speech.
5. Give points for improvement.
Adjudicators shall point out the mistakes committed and how said mistakes may be remedied. Adjudicators shall help
the debaters get some points to learn as to how to argue and how to keep their dynamism during the debate.
Adjudication
Points of Information
What part do POIs play in a debate?
To give and take Points of Information is the role of every speaker. Not doing either is failing to fulfil your role. POIs
contribute matter to the debate, and the way in which they are given or taken is a reflection of manner. Thus not taking
any POIs means a failure to fulfil your role and potentially lower contribution in matter (however that does not mean
an automatic last place).
How long should POIs be?
POIs are not a place to make an argument, just a point, an example, an accusation or to ask a question. Typically Points
Of Information are about 2 sentences long or 15 seconds in length. If a POI is too long, it eats into the time allocated
for the speaker and the adjudicator may call order and request the person asking the POI to quit.
How many must I take?
It is recommended that each speaker takes 2 points of information, 1 from the opening team and another from the
closing team. This is fairest and most optimum for interactivity in the debate.
Are speakers who do not take 2 points of information automatically punished?
No. However it is a consideration when discussing if teams have fulfilled their roles in the debate. Also speakers who
take effort to engage with other speakers and encourage interactivity should be rewarded. While this will not guarantee
win/loss, it might make a difference in close debates.
The context of the debate should also be taken into account. It is understandable to not take a POI if no POIs are
offered, or if the speaker is fulfilling his/her role in some other aspect.
Can I take more than 2 points of information?
Yes, there is no limit to the number of POIs one can take, but while POIs are an important part of a speech and should
become the speech itself.
Can I interject into someone elses speech or offer my point of information by saying something colourful
(verbalising), instead of just on that point?
Interjections, heckles, comments whether in the process of giving POI or otherwise, are not automatically punished
unless they interrupt the speech of the speaker on the floor. Then the debater is exhibiting bad manner and the chair can
instruct him/her to maintain order. While contributing to the dynamism and interactivity of the debate, interjections etc
do not count as matter points.

Are adjudicators then supposed to explicitly ignore everything that is offered through interjection or heckles?
If someone says what you were thinking in your head, that does not subjugate your intelligence and your ideas remain
valid. It is important however to protect the integrity of the speech of the speaker on the floor. The debate format has to
be maintained and if interjections were treated as valid points, no one would bother with making speeches.
Nevertheless there are situations where the context of the debate may deem the interjection legitimate. For example, if
the speaker is not taking any points of information or trying to shut out one of the teams. In those situations, the person
offering the interjection is not trying to interrupt the speech before him but bring attention to the fact that the speaker is
not being dynamic and engaging his ideas. The adjudicator then assesses if this is true, decides if action is necessary
and acts accordingly.
Definitions
What is a good definition?
A definition that is in the spirit of the motion and clearly explains the contention of the debate. Definitely not a
definition that wins the debate, as that means no debate occurs.
How much of freedom does the Government have in defining the motion?
A team can define the debate in any way they choose and it is up to the other teams in the debate to question their
approach. Adjudicators cannot compare the definition to what they think the definition should be. Instead, adjudicators
should evaluate the effect of the definition. If Govt defines too narrowly and cannot develop matter to prove their selfproving case, then they contribute little to the debate. If Govt defines poorly and creates too many holes, then
defending their case will be difficult.
Can team parameterise definitions?
Yes. Teams are allowed to set parameters to limit the grounds of the debate, as long as those parameters are fair. For
example, in a debate about child labour, restricting it to legal occupations. If it helps to clarify the area of debate and
leads to a good debate happening, the action of setting those parameters should be rewarded.
However these are not set in stone and up to question from the opposition. If the Government unfairly restricts the
parameters of the debate, it is fair for Opposition to expand the area of debate. Thus Govt cannot limit a child labour
debate to discussing the right to earn allowance by shovelling snow if the Opp argues that is unfair and expands it. On
the other hand if the Opp likes to discuss snow shovelling, that is also their right and they should not be punished for
not expanding the parameters.
Do you have to include every word in the motion during the definition?
You do not have to define every word, but the words in the motion define the potential scope of the debate and the
onus of the teams. If the motion reads this house will condemn people who encourage suicide, the focus of the
debate is on people who encourage, not commit suicide and not taking that into account could seriously affect the
direction of the debate. However you do not have to define people and perhaps can even assume what suicide means.
On what basis can you challenge a definition?
A definition can be challenged on the basis that a definition is: (take definitions from rules)
a) time set/place set
b) truistic/tautological
c) wholly unreasonable/squirrel
Who can challenge and who cant?
Any team in the debate can challenge the definition, because each team is a unique entity. Thus, a debate could have 4
definitions.
What happens during a definition debate?
To challenge the definition, one has to
a) explicitly state that you are challenging the definition
b) state why (time or place set, truistic, unreasonable) and explain
c) provide a new definition
You still maintain your positions in the debate and have to argue appropriately. Thus the Opening Opposition, after
challenging the definition and providing a new one would then proceed to oppose the motion, not support it.

Once you challenge a definition, other than to show why the previous definition is inaccurate, you do not have to
address the issues/arguments that fall under it. One basically ignores that definition.
Matter & Manner
What is good matter?
Good matter is matter that is logically developed, relevant to the case at hand and substantiated.
What is good manner?
Good manner is manner that is effective in strengthening the argument/case, is entertaining.
Which is more important?
They are both equally important (check section on scoring). Thus a team could win on manner just as easily as a team
could win on matter.
Scoring
Matter

Manner

Total

Range

25-30

25-30

50-59

poor

30-35

30-35

60-69

below average

35-40

35-40

70-79

average

40-45

40-45

80-89

break worthy

45-50

45-50

90-100

good (semi-finals level)

Miscellaneous
Is there such a thing as an automatic last in a debate? What most horrible sin must a team commit to
immediately earn a last position?
No. There is nothing in a debate that you can do to get an automatic last short of not showing up. If a first prop team
squirrels the motion into a tautology and then the second speaker knifes the first, they probably wont win the round
but should not receive an automatic last, they just set a very high threshold for what some other team in the round
would have to do in order to take last place away from them (perhaps wetting themselves during their speech or
something).

Scoring
Matter

Manner

Total

Range

25-30

25-30

50-59

poor

30-35

30-35

60-69

below average

35-40

35-40

70-79

average

40-45

40-45

80-89

break worthy

45-50

45-50

90-100

good (semi-finals level)

TEAM
Government
Opposition

OG

MATTER

OG

CG

MANNER

CG

OO

TOTAL

OO

CO

CG

___________________________________

Adjudicator