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Debate Event Information


Extemporaneous Speaking

A five to seven minute speech with 30 minutes for preparation. Contestants draw three current events topics and speak on one of them. Each round will be from a different topic area: international, domestic, and economic. Limited notes are allowed.
Impromptu Each contestant is given a quotation of a general or philosophical nature. The speaker has a maximum of 7 minutes to both prepare and speak, but each student must speak for at least three minutes. Limited notes are allowed.

Dramatic Duo

Two contestants will present a cutting or scene from a published play with a maximum time limit of 10 minutes. The selection may be either serious or humorous in nature, but no costumes, props, lighting, special make-up, etc. are to be used. Manuscript is required. The focus should be off-stage and the introduction should be original and involve both partners.


Each contestant will present a program of single or multiple selections of poetry. No play or prose is permitted, and the time limit is 10 minutes. The program should include an original introduction. If multiple selections are used, a unifying thematic concept should be developed which emerges in the introduction and is carried thorough any appropriate original transitions. The use of manuscript is required.


Each contestant will present a program or single selection of prose literature with a 10 minute time limit. No plays or poetry is permitted. The program should include an original, memorized introduction, and if multiple selections are used, a unifying theme must be developed in the introduction and through any appropriate transitions. The use of manuscript is required.

After Dinner Speaking

Each contestant will present an original, memorized, 10 minute speech which develops a significant serious point through the use of humor. This speech should not be a string of jokes; it should have a serious point that is carried throughout the speech in a humorous manner. Visual aids are allowed.
Informative Informative is an original memorized speech written to inform the audience on a general topic of interest and/or usefulness. Visual aids are permitted, and the maximum time is the standard 10 minutes.
Persuasion Each student presents an original, memorized speech to persuade. The speech should examine a problem of current, social significance, the cause of the problem, and personal, viable solutions to correct the problem, all within 10 minutes.

Communication Analysis

Each contestant will present an original critical analysis of any "rhetorical communication artifact" (speech, movement, advertisement, billboard, commercial, etc.) by using a published communication method. Visual aids are allowed with a maximum of 10 minutes.



1. Resolutions

A different resolution for each round will be presented to the debaters at a specified time prior to the beginning of each debate. The specified time will be determined by adding fifteen minutes to the amount of time needed to walk to the most distant building in which debates are to occur.

The topic of each round will be about current affairs or philosophy. The resolutions will be general enough that a well-educated college student can debate them. They may be phrased in literal or metaphorical language.

2. Objective of the Debate

The proposition team must affirm the resolution by presenting and defending a sufficient case for that resolution. The opposition team must oppose the resolution and/or the proposition team's case. If, at the end of the debate, the judge believes that the proposition team has supported and successfully defended the resolution, they will be declared the winner; otherwise the opposition will be declared the winner.

3. Before the Debate

The proposition team, if they wish, may use the room assigned for debate for their preparation. If the proposition team uses the debating room for preparation, both the judge and the opposition must vacate the room until the time for the debate to begin.

4. During the Debate

Any published information (dictionaries, magazines, etc) which may have been consulted before the debate cannot be brought into the debating chambers for use during the debate. Except for notes made during preparation time and a copy of the "NPDA Rules for Debating and Judging," no published materials, prepared arguments, or resources for the debater's use in the debate may be brought into the debating chambers.

Format of the Debate:

First Proposition Constructive 7 minutes
First Opposition Constructive 8 minutes
Second Proposition Constructive 8 minutes
Second Opposition Constructive 8 minutes
Opposition Rebuttal     4 minutes
Proposition Rebuttal     5 minutes


Constructive and Rebuttal Speeches

Introduction of new arguments is appropriate during all constructive speeches. However, debaters may not introduce new arguments in rebuttal speeches except that the proposition rebuttalist may introduce new arguments in his or her rebuttal to refute arguments that were first raised in the Second Opposition Constructive. New examples, analysis, analogies, etc. which support previously introduced arguments are permitted in rebuttal speeches.

Points of Information

A debater may request a point of information--either verbally or by rising--at any time after the first minute and before the last minute of any constructive speech. The debater holding the floor has the discretion to accept or refuse points of information. If accepted, the debater requesting the point of information has a maximum of fifteen seconds to make a statement or ask a question. The speaking time of the debater with the floor continues during the point of information.


Policy Debate, also called CX Debate, is one of the oldest forms of competative debate in the United States. This debate is evidence based, and very technical. While it is not necessary, high school debate experience is beneficial.

A policy debate round is composed of two teams of two debaters and a judge or panel of judges. One team, the Affirmative, must support a Resolution by presenting a prepared case. The 2003-4 Policy Debate resolution is:

Resolved: that the United States Federal Government should ratify or accede to, and implement, one or more of the following:

  • The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

  • The Kyoto Protocol

  • The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

  • The Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty

  • The Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Strategic Offensive Reductions, if not ratified by the United States.The other team then presents a case against the resolution or against the affirmative case. Speeches are generally delivered very quickly with focus on argumentation.

The debate format includes four constructive speeches, in which new arguments are formulated and four rebuttal speeches which rehash and summarize the debate. There is a cross examination period in which a speaker answers questions posed by the opposing team after each constructive speech. Each debater gives a constructive speech and a rebuttal speech and controls one cross-ex. The format looks like this:

The round is recorded using a specialized form of not-taking called a "flow" which is then used by the judges to render a decision.


This is a chance for students who can not commit to the travel or time for all meetings to still be able to participate. You will bring debate to our local campus. You will debate using the same format as policy and will need to make some meetings to be able to actively debate but the commitment level is much lower. There will be three public debates a semester on various topics.

In addition to practice you will need to be available to help put up flyers and advertisement on campus. You can also stay involved with the forensics program by helping out with tournaments when they come to campus.