novice debate terms

  1. a priori
    The phrase literally means, "Without appeal to experience," and is usually applied to knowledge. The statement, "a bachelor is an unmarried man," is an a priori statement because it is a definition. Debaters use this phrase, incorrectly, to suggest that an argument is a first consideration in the debate.
  2. advocacy
    The position that the affirmative or negative case defense. One's advocacy is tied to not just the resolution, but also the arguments made by the debater in the round.
  3. affirmative
    The side of the debate that defends the resolution.
  4. agent of action
    the power indicated or inferred by the resolution to carry out resolutional action. In LD resolutions, the agent of action is typically individuals, society, or the government
  5. awards ceremony
    an assembly where students are recognized for their performance.
  6. ballot
    the written record of the decision in the round. The ballot includes both the debaters' names, a place for their speaker points, and a place for the decision. What the ballot means or represents is a question in many advanced debates.
  7. block
    multiple prepared responses to an argument, generally with evidence
  8. burden
    • No question of values can be determined entirely true or false. This is why the resolution is debatable. Therefore neither debater should be held to a standard of absolute proof. No debater can realistically be expected to prove complete validity or invalidity of the resolution. The better debater is the one who, on the whole, proves his/her side of the resolution more valid as a general principle.
    • - burden of proof: each debater has the equal burden to prove the validity of his
    • - burden of clash: each debater has an equal burden to clash with his/her opponent's position. Neither debater should be rewarded for presenting a speech completely unrelated to the arguments of his/her opponent.
    • - resolutional burden: the debaters are equally obligated to focus he debate on the central questions of the resolution, not whether the resolution itself is worthy of debate. Because the affirmative must uphold the resolution, the negative must also argue the resolution as presented.
    • Additionally, specific elements of arguments or case positions may cause further burdens for a particular debater. If one debater places a burden on themselves, it must be met in order to win the debate. If one debater places a burden on another, it must either be met or the debater must argue (and win) why they do not need to meet the burden to win the debate.
  9. case-turn
    A case-turn attacks the fundamental assumption of the affirmative or negative case and argues that he case either concludes in a different result or would actually be harmful rather than beneficial. (Reductio ad abusurdum)
  10. claim
    a statement, or the first step of an argument. The "what" of an argument.
  11. concede
    To agree. A conceded argument is one that is explicitly agreed to by the opponent or is implicitly agreed to by virtue of being dropped.
  12. contention
    main arguments in a constructive speech, often divided ino sub-points, A, B, C, etc, for clarity
  13. contradiction
    two arguments are incompatible with each other, or there is a perceived conceptual tension between two ideas. Debaters should avoid contradicting themselves.
  14. counterplan
    A term borrowed from policy debate, it refers to "better solution" than the affirmative case which is offered by the negative. It is like a "little affirmative case" and should have specific advocacy and solve the problem the affirmative suggests as well as be competitive and mutually exclusive with the affirmative case. This presumes the affirmative has a plan.
  15. criterion
    • In general, each debater will present a value criterion (a standard) which the debater will use to:
    • - explain how the value should be protected, respected, maximized, advanced, or achieved
    • - measure whether a given side or argument protects, respects, maximizes, advances, or achieves the value
    • - evaluate the relevance and importance of an argument in the conex of the round.
    • The relationship between the value premise and the criterion should be clearly articulated. During the debate, the debaters may argue the validity or priority of the two value structures. They may accept their opponent's value structure, prove the superiority of their own value structure, or synthesize the two.
  16. cross-apply, cross-application
    making an argument at one place in the debate and then applying that same argument somewhere else in the debate
  17. cross examination
    one debater asks questions, another answers, about the debate which is taking place. Cross-examination should be used by the debater to clarify, challenge and/or advance concepts in the round
  18. crystallization
    selection of voting issues and weighing the round for the judge.
  19. cut evidence
    to copy a portion of a book, magazine, or hearing onto a note card or brief (via photocopying, handwriting, or typing)
  20. disadvantage
    Any problem that results because of the implementation of the affirmative or negative case. The disadvantage must be unique or suggest that the case causes the disadvantage to occur when it otherwise wouldn't.
  21. drop, dropped
    an argument not responded to by a debater
  22. evidence
    Authoritative quoted material entered into the debate to support the argument being made. It's used to provide the warrant for a claim. Evidence can be empirical, about the real world, or theoretical, more of a philosophical position on a core question or concept. Evidence, or cards, requires a full source cite.
  23. Extend, extending
    re-explaining an argument that was made in a prior speech. you may not extend an argument without responding to your opponent's attacks to that argument, unless it was dropped.
  24. First Affirmative Constructive (AC or 1AC)
    the first speech of the debate round. The affirmative presents his or her case position defending the resolution. The speech is 6 minutes in length.
  25. First Negative Constructive (NC or 1NC)
    The first speech of he debater defending the negative side of the resolution. This speech is 6 minutes in length. Divided into two parts, the first 3.5 minutes of he speech presents the negative case, and the second half, (3.5 minutes) argues against the affirmative case, or the AC. However, there are no rules regarding precise time allocation in this speech. There is some controversy in the community whether to call this speech a rebuttal.
  26. Flip
    see turn
  27. Flow
    The record of the round, the notes that judges and debaters take
  28. Group
    a rebuttal tactic to combine arguments that share a common premise or underlying assumption. This strategy is particularly important when an opponent makes many arguments.
  29. Impact (noun)
    The conclusion or result of an argument. The "why it matters" of an argument
  30. Impact (verb)
    Connecting the conclusion of an argument to the criterion or framework.
  31. Kick
    A debater may kick an argument or eliminate it from consideration if there are no offensive answers against it such as a turn. Kicking the argument nullifies it in the debate and is used to save time in rebuttals.
  32. Kritik
    A type of argument, generally a case that attacks the fundamental assumptions of he resolution, or of the opponent's case, by saying that the assumptions embodied by the opponent are false or reprehensible. This is generally not standard practice.
  33. Lay judge (Mr. Mokā™„)
    A term for a judge that is not experienced in the format of debate, its nuances, and may or may no take notes, or flow. In general, a lay judge is inexperienced at judging debates.
  34. Link
    The logical connection that occurs between two parts of an argument.
  35. Mutually- exclusive
    Arguments or world views that are distinct and can not be accepted together. Two arguments are mutually exclusive if they can not co-exist. For example, in policy debate, a plan and a counterplan must be mutually exclusive.
  36. Negative
    The side of the debate that attacks, or argues against the resolution.
  37. New arguments
    Any response to a dropped argument is considered a new response. Failing to address an argument the first time an opportunity exists, renders an argument dropped and by default, true. Judges are instructed o disregard new arguments introduced in the rebuttals. This does not include the introduction of new evidence in support of points already advanced or the answering of arguments introduced by opponents.
  38. Non-unique
    The suggestion that an argument is non-unique means that it is true for both the affirmative and negative. If an argument is non-unique it does not affect the debate. Non-unique answers are defensive answers.
  39. Observation
    An observation is correctly used to further clarify the terms in the resolution, the ground permitted by the resolution, or an assumption of the resolution that provides for fair and reasonable debate.
  40. Paradigm
    A judge's philosophy or view of debate. Generally, a judge's way of deciding a debate.
  41. Position
    he overall thee or thesis of the debater's argument.
  42. Preempt/Spike
    An argument designed to respond to an anticipated argument before it is made. For example, an affirmative case could preempt possible negative attacks or case arguments. These are defensive arguments designed o ease the rebuttal burden.
  43. Preflow
    Each debater writes an outline of their case arguments on the left most margin of their paper in advance of the round in preparation for the debate. Preflows should always be done before the student walks into the room. The preflow may be as detailed or skeletal as the debater wishes.
  44. Preparation time
    The time before rebuttal speeches where debaters can prepare his or her attacks. The norm is not to use prep-time before cross examination.
  45. Rebuttal
    Speeches in a debate round that argue against an opponent's position and defend one's own position from attacks. Also known as refutation.
  46. Resolution
    The sentence that states the topic or issue that is to be debated.
  47. Signposting
    Identifying to the judge where you are on he flow. Signposting is critical for the judge to understand which arguments the debaters are referencing.
  48. Solvency
    Typically an argument made in policy debates, this term refers to the way a debater fixes the problems that he/she suggests in his/her arguments.
  49. Speaker points
    A scale of numerical points assigned to each debater based on their overall performance in the round. Judges vary on what they use to assign speaker points but typically include the overall presentation by the debater, their speaking style and quality, their strategy in he debate, and how well the debater performed in reference to an ideal performance.
  50. Spread
    Making many, many arguments in an attempt to prevent the other debater from answering them all. Non legit spreading contests are fun!
  51. Standard
    The framework, or occasionally used to describe the criterion and the value premise together, or just the criterion.
  52. Sub-Point
    A supporting argument to a larger, main argument main in a contention.
  53. Tabulation Room
    The place at a tournament where debate rounds are paired and tournament administration occurs. Ballots are often picked up and returned here.
  54. Topicality
    Typically an argument made in policy debates, topicality questions whether the affirmative case supports the resolution.
  55. Turn
    A turn is when an argument that was initially made to support one side is shown to do the opposite: to support the other side.
  56. Uniqueness
    Uniqueness means that the argument is essential and is caused by the action suggested by the debater.
  57. Value premise
    A value is an ideal held by individuals, societies, governments, etc. that serves as the highest goal to be protected, respected, maximized, advanced, or achieved. In general, the debater will establish a value which focuses the central questions of the resolution and will serve as a foundation for argumentation. The value premise must specifically relate to the agent of action in the resolution.
  58. Voting issues
    Suggestions to the judge as to what they should consider in making their decision. Voting issues should be main arguments or aspects of clash that must be related to the value premise and/or criterion. Typically, two to three voting issues are presented.
  59. Warrant
    Evidence or analysis that is used to support a claim.
  60. Weigh
    A comparison of arguments relative to the criterion. Weighing can take many forms but generally involves suggesting why one argument should be considered before another in the decision making calculus of the judge
  61. Word economy
    The term describes the use of the fewest word possible to explain a concept or argument. Due to time limits in each speech, particularly the 1AR, word economy is an important skill.
Card Set
novice debate terms
novice debate terms