Two teams participate in each debate. One team is given the role of the affirmative party, the other one the negative. The selection of the role (party) shall be conducted in a way announced beforehand to the coaches of both teams by the organizer of that debate. Each team consists of four debaters, whom actively participate in the debate. The team at the beginning of the debate shall announce names and the order of the active debaters. Debaters of a team can freely change within their team during a competition, albeit not during a debate.
1 Roles of Individual Speakers
The first member of the affirmative party (A1) starts the debate. S/he has the right to define the resolution. S/he introduces the criterion, and s/he has the right to also introduce the criterion if the resolution is factual or value one. Then outlines the structure and organization of the defense of the resolution. S/he presents the focus of argumentation and then basic arguments of his /her party.
After A1 finishes his/her speech, s/he is cross-questioned by N3. Cross-questioning lasts 1 minutes. The main A1 speech lasts 3 minutes.
The first speaker of the negative party (N1) must accept the given definition, unless it contradicts the rules of the competition. If affirmative party brought criterion, s/he expresses the standpoint of the negative party towards it, i.e. accepts the criterion or rejects it by providing reasons for rejecting it and introduces own criterion, on which s/he shows why the new criterion is more suitable/important in the context of the resolution. Her/his primary task is to deal with the arguments of the affirmative party (i.e. to refute or accept them). N1 has the right to present own constructive line to support the rejection of the resolution anytime during his/her speech, but s/he has to make sure that he mainly managed to fulfill his/her primary task. When introducing own argumentation line by policy resolutions, s/he always accepts affirmative criterion or introduces criterion of its own, it is his/her own right to introduce criterion for the negative line by other types of resolution.
After finishing his/her speech, N1 is cross-questioned by A3. Cross-questioning lasts 1,5 minutes. The main (N1) speech lasts 3 minutes.
The second speaker of the affirmative party (A2) primarily supports the arguments of A1, which have been challenged/refuted by N1. S/he refutes the refutation (i.e. rebuts). If the negative party presented their own case, s/he shall refute it. After s/he thinks s/he has managed his/her task, s/he shall continue in the argumentation of the affirmative party i.e. presents new arguments to support the motion and supports existing arguments with other pieces of evidence.
After finishing his/her speech, A2 is cross-questioned by the first speaker of the negative party. Cross-questioning lasts 1,5 minutes. The main A2 speech lasts 3 minutes.
The primary task of the second speaker of the negative party (N2) is to deal with the argumentation of the affirmative party mainly in a way, how it was rebutted and supported by the A2 speaker, i.e. challenges/refutes the rehabilitation of arguments presented by A1 and new arguments brought by A2, eventually informs about the absence of affirmative rehabilitation. If N1 presented negative constructive line, continues in the argumentation already presented, s/he could not support the line with further new arguments, but s/he can support what has already been said by new specific pieces of evidence. When choosing the best strategy, s/he shall make sure that s/he mainly sufficiently fulfilled his/her primary task.
After finishing his/her speech, N2 is cross-questioned by the first speaker of the affirmative party. Cross-questioning lasts 1,5 minutes. The main N2 speech lasts 3 minutes.
The third speaker of the affirmative party (A3) supports the arguments of A2. S/he refutes the refutation (i.e. rebuts). If the negative party presented their own case, s/he shall refute it. After s/he thinks s/he has managed his/her task, s/he shall continue in the argumentation of the affirmative party i.e. presents new arguments to support the motion and supports existing arguments with other pieces of evidence.
After finishing his/her speech, A3 is cross-questioned by the second speaker of the negative party. Cross-questioning lasts 1,5 minutes. The main A3 speech lasts 3 minutes.
The task of the third speaker of the negative party (N3) is to deal with the argumentation of the affirmative party mainly in a way, how it was rebutted and supported by the A3 speaker. If N2 presented negative constructive line, continues in the argumentation already presented, s/he could not support the line with further new arguments, but s/he can support what has already been said by new specific pieces of evidence.
After finishing his/her speech, N3 is cross-questioned by the second speaker of the aff. party. Cross-questioning lasts 1,5 minutes. The main N3 speech lasts 3 minutes.
A4 is the last speaker of the affirmative party and his/her goal is to conclude the argumentation of his/her party. S/he determines and analyzes main/key clash points in the debate from the affirmative point of view and shows, how the affirmative party managed to prove the resolution by means of its argumentation. A4 challenges statements of N3, who challenged affirmative arguments. If negative constructive line was presented in the debate, s/he shows why this line did not clash/challenge resolution’s defense. S/he does not bring in any new arguments, but can support the presented ones with new concrete pieces of evidence. If there was a clash of two criteria in the debate, s/he shows why the affirmative criterion was in the context of the resolution more important and what role it played in the motion’s defense.
The speech lasts 2,5 minutes.
N4 concludes the debate from the negative point of view and the debate as such. His/her goal is to finish clashing/challenging resolution defense and reconstruct own argumentation (if it was introduced). S/he determines and analyzes main/key clash points in the debate and shows why the negative party managed to clash or significantly challenge affirmative argumentation during the debate and explains how this argumentation challenge supported the negative construction line (if it was introduced). S/he does not bring in any new arguments, but can support the presented ones with new concrete pieces of evidence. If there was a clash of two criteria in the debate, s/he shows why the negative criterion was in the context of the resolution more important and what role it played in the motion’s defense.
The speech lasts 2,5 minutes.
Preparation time, communication during a debate
During the course of the debate, the affirmative team has the right to take 2 minutes and the negative team 3 minutes for preparation between individual presentations. Their request to take time for preparation and its amount shall be announced in a suitable way to the moderator/timekeeper of the debate.
2 Resolution types
Policy resolution proposes to take an action, change the current state of affairs. There is obviously included some sort of procedure in the formulation of these resolutions, which is most commonly represented as a general idea without concrete details of this procedure. Most often, but not necessarily always, there is an expression “we should” or, “we should not”. Examples: “Marijuana should be legalized.”
The factual resolution tries to classify and define a certain sequence of things, actions or opinions. Examples: “UFO exists.”
Value resolution states qualitative judgments about value in a given topic. The character of these topics may be esthetical, procedural or ethical. Resolution itself includes some sort of evaluation expression, whose meaning is subjective and about whose explanation may be argued in the debate. Examples: “Smoking ban in public is right.”
3 Rules of a Debate
The aim of the criterion in the debate is to delimitate and shelter the argumentation line in the debate.
Criterion can be understood as a goal, sense or purpose of change, which is proposed by the party, which is debating a policy resolution. Criterion in the sense of goal clarifies, which values the affirmative/negative party is debating and what is the party going to achieve during the debate. The goal should be generally accepted, whose achieving should be desirable and idea included in it should be positive. Stated goal should be at the same time realistically achievable, sufficiently concrete and significant in relation to a given motion. It is obligatory for both affirmative and negative parties to bring criterion when debating policy resolutions.
The criterion is understood most frequently as a standard in value or factual resolution. Such criterion as standard is the tool to evaluate whether resolution has been proven or not, it provides some sort of measurable value. The criterion by value resolution is most often the explanation of the evaluation expression. It is a right (not obligation) to bring criterion in value or factual resolutions for the one, who is bringing the constructive line.
Negative party does not need to agree with a given criterion. In such case they explain, why they do not agree with the criterion, introduce criterion of their own and explain, in what aspect is this criterion better. In case that the negative party introduces own constructive line in the debate, they either accept the criterion of the affirmative party as their own or they introduce own criterion for their constructive line. Affirmative party does not have to also agree with the negative criterion, if they however proposed at the beginning their own criterion, they could not propose a new one.
The criterion clash or arguing about two criteria is in terms of two constructive lines a part of the argumentation and challenging of the resolution, therefore it can be executed by all debaters, provided that the criterion is challenged in the N1 speech, or A2, later criterion challenge is not acceptable.The criterion should be formulated by those speakers that represent the constructive line from their party (A1, N1) or those who react as the first one on the presented line (N1, A2) provided that they do not accept presented criterion of opponents.
The purpose of the definition is to explain how the affirmative party understands the resolution and what they want to discuss. The negative party is allowed to challenge the definition only if the definition in question does not conform to the above-mentioned rules. If the negative party challenges the definition, this must be done by N1, who will explain why the definition does not conform to the rules and will offer a revised definition.
Negative strategy is considered fallacious if the team challenges the definition without explaining the necessity of doing so during the course of the debate (purposeless challenge for challenge only). The clash in a competitive debate should be over arguments, not over the definition.
A2, event. N2 (if the definition was presented later by the negative party and A2 revised it) may challenge the revised definition only when it does not conform to the above-mentioned rules. The debater is not entitled to bring new definition when challenging revised definition, but s/he can only argue for the definition that was originally proposed by his/her party.
The right of definition is a right (not necessarily a duty) of the affirmative party. If the affirmative party does not provide the definition, this right is passed on to the first speaker of the negative party. If s/he wants to use this right, s/he can do so provided s/he conforms to the above-mentioned rules.
3.3 Who Wins the Debate
The debate is won by the affirmative team if, on the basis of its argumentation, it upheld the resolution debated. The debate is won by the negative team if, on the basis of its argumentation, it disproved the affirmative case or put it into serious doubt. When the debate is evaluated the “strength” of the arguments is taken into consideration.
The negative team does not necessarily have to disagree with all of the steps in the affirmative party’s process of supporting the resolution. As long as it proves the invalidity of the conclusions derived from this process, it still can win the debate.
3.4 Negative Case
The negative party does not have to present its own case in the debate. It should concentrate on attacking the affirmative party’s case. However, if the negative party does decide to present their own case, it is still their task to prove that the affirmative case is not valid and, at the same time, to prove that their own case is valid. It is then the duty of the affirmative party to not only prove their own case, but to also disprove the negative case. If the negative team fails to prove validity of its own negative line, it still has a change to win the debate, if they prove invalidity of affirmative line. Affirmative party has then obligation besides the primary goal to prove its case to disprove also the negative case. Affirmative and negative cases must be mutually exclusive – they cannot coexist side by side and be both valid at the same time.
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