Make sure you understand the proposition. Check the meanings of any words that you
are unclear about.
Determine whether the proposition is:
A fact (yes or no)
A value (right or wrong)
A policy (something must be done so another thing occurs or is removed)
Provide a brief description of what the proposition means (resolutional analysis).
Ask yourself these questions:
Is it metaphorical (this House believes that birds of a feather flock together)?
Is it straight-up (this House would lift the embargo on Cuba)?
Determine what the key words are in the proposition. These are the terms that must
be defined so that the debate can occur. Remember:
Keep the definitions simple.
Using common-sense is better than being vague.
Some terms need not be defined.
Create your criterion (p. criteria), or "the way to judge the round."
Net Benefit: we will bring about more benefits than harms (note: costs and benefits are not strictly
nor solely economic)
On Balance: looked at equally, our side provides the more "balanced" case (less flaws, more
advantages, easier to implement)
Provide a brief preview (overview) of your case and it is meant to prove to the judge.
Craft a case that supports your resolutional analysis, definitions, and criterion.
Cases can be:
Topical: separate areas of analysis that, when placed together, support your understanding
of the proposition
Thematic: focus on topics, which are usually closely related to the proposition, that address
a unifying theme (in order to understand the ominous words of George Orwell, we must
look to three of the most horrific manifestations of totalitarianism)
Chrono-thematic: one theme addressed in chronological order (Today we are gong to look at the history
of racial prejudice in America)
Chrono-topical: topical discussion that goes in chronological order from earliest to most recent
(Today we are going to look at a religious example from the ancient Greeks. Then we
will explore a political approach made famous in the Renaissance. Finally, we will
look to a philosophical construct that arose out of the Depression)
Develop "connectives" or "tag lines" that clearly label your case points (e.g., Historical,
Political, Religious, Social, Contemporary, Scientific, Philosophical)
Remember: an example is NOT a point; a point contains examples. Provide:
Internal Previews: This Historical point will demonstrate . . .
Internal Reviews: This Historical point supports the proposition by ...
Whenever possible, provide an impact at the end of your points (so we can see that
this contention is directly related to the debate in that it . . .) This demonstrates
to the judge that your case is justified, in line with, the topic.
Conclude with a review (underview) that reiterates the strengths of your defense of
the proposition (We stand resolved that our case . . .)