Outline of Concepts and Terms Important to Debate
(return to Debate: Classroom Activities)

From: Colburn, C. William. Strategies for Educational Debate. Boston: Holbrook Press, 1972.

A. Analyzing arguments and propositions

1.   Examine the historical implications

      1. Immediate or contemporary setting
      2. The historical past


2.   Define the terms of the question

      1. Word control
      2. The definition of a "definition"
      3. Defining for sound analysis

3.   Locate the issues inherent in the proposition

      1. Stock issues
      2. Discovering issues

4.   Develop position statements for each of the issues

      1. Contentions
      2. Relatedness
      3. Clarity
      4. Brevity
      5. Substructure

5.   Find support for your contentions

6.   Evaluate the position of stand developed on the resolution

B. Evidence and Assertions

1.   Classes of evidence

      1. Source-based assertion
      2. Empirical data

2.   Function of Evidence

      1. Increase the probative force of the contentions
      2. Increase the credibility of the speaker in the minds of the listeners
      3. Add emotional impact to an argument

3.   Tests of evidence

    1. Relevancy
    2. Consistency
    3. Recency
    4. Verifiability
    4) Tests for source-based assertions
    1. Is the source competent?
    2. Is the source free of prejudice?
    3. Is the source reliable?

5) Tests for empirical data

    1. Is the sample upon which the results are based representative?
    2. Is the method of statistical analysis sound?
    3. Is the information statistically significant?

6) Ethics

  1. Manufacturing of evidence
  2. Violating the intention of a quotation
  3. Changing the source of a quotation
  4. Misrepresenting the significance of an item of proof
  5. Misrepresenting the competence of the source

C. Argument

1.  Reasoning

2.   Logic

3.   Induction

4.   Deduction

5.   The Warrant

  1. motivational warrant
  2. source credibility warrant
  3. substantive warrant

D. Debate Setting

1.   The debater as a speaker

  1. Clarity of presentation
  2. Conversational tone
  3. Posture and gestures
  4. Dress

2.   The debater as listener

  1. Listen when you are not speaking
  2. Organization of material
  3. Be prepared