Debate Format and Speaker Roles

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APUSH Cross-Examination Debate
Format and Participant Roles
Key Debate Terms
Resolution: Also known as the topic; It is an expression of opinion that includes the word “should.” In actual
policy debate competition, the United States federal government is the presumed “actor” to be
implementing the proposed resolution.
Affirmative Team: The side in a debate round that supports or “affirms” the resolution.
Negative Team: The side in a debate round that opposes or “negates” the resolution.
Constructive Speech: The first two sets of speeches in which both sides “construct” their arguments and
positions; our constructive speeches will be 4 minutes each, and will be directly followed by a crossexamination period; two different competitors on each team will each give a constructive speech (a total of
four 4-minute speeches).
Cross-Examination: The period in a debate when one person from one team asks questions of one person
from the other team for clarification purposes and to expose weaknesses in argumentation; the person being
questioned will always be the speaker who just delivered a constructive speech; the cross-examiner must ask
actual questions of his opponent, not rhetorical questions; the cross-examiner should refrain from using this
time to make any arguments for his own side. Each cross-examination period will be 2 minutes.
Rebuttal Speech: The last set of speeches in which both sides focus on comparing and contrasting arguments
already presented in the round (in the constructive speeches and cross-examination periods); rebuttal
speeches are 3 minutes; the rebuttal speeches allow teams to analyze the key arguments of the round using
logic to explain why one side’s arguments are superior to the other side’s; there should be no new
arguments made during the rebuttal period; the rebuttal speakers will not be the same as the constructive
speakers.
Prep Time: Preparation time, also called “prep” or “prep time” is 4 minutes of time given to each team at the
start of the debate; this time can be used as needed over the course of a debate round to prepare for
speeches. It is always used by the side that will be delivering the very next speech.
Flow: Flowing is the debate term for the general technique used to keep track of what arguments are made
(and when, and how they are responded to) during a debate. In order to answer arguments by your
opponents, you must be able to write them down with some logical organization so that you can remember
them and respond. Good flowing helps you out enormously when it is your turn to speak - you now have
notes to work from and a meaningful structure to follow.
Team Structure
Our class debate teams will have 4 members each, for a total of 8 participants in the debate. Each member
on each team will have one of the following roles.
• 1st Constructive Speaker (1AC & 1NC)
• 2nd Constructive Speaker (2AC & 2NC)
• Cross-Examiner (will question both the 1st and 2nd constructive speakers) (ACX & NCX)
• Closing Rebuttal Speaker (AR & NR)
1
Debate Format
Formal cross-examination debates always proceed according to some variation of the pattern below.
Depending on the particular debate competition, the length of each round and the number of rounds can
vary, but the order of speakers is always as follows:
First Constructive Round
First Affirmative
Constructive Speech
(1AC)
(4 minutes)
Cross Examination
(1AC questioned by
NCX)
(2 minutes)
First Negative
Constructive Speech
(1NC)
(4 minutes)
Cross Examination
(1NC questioned by
ACX)
(2 minutes)
Second Constructive Round
Second Affirmative
Constructive Speech
(2AC)
(4 minutes)
Cross Examination
(2AC questioned by
NCX)
(2 minutes)
Second Negative
Constructive Speech
(2NC)
(4 minutes)
Rebuttal Round
Negative Rebuttal
Speech
(NR)
(3 minutes)
Affirmative Rebuttal
Speech
(AR)
(3 minutes)
Total speaking time: 30 minutes (15 per side)
Preparation time:
8 minutes (4 per side)
2
Cross Examination
(2NC questioned by
ACX)
(2 minutes)
Who Does What When
During the debate, every member of each team has a specific and necessary job to do. Your team’s success
depends upon each person not only preparing before the debate, but also during the debate. Find your role
in the chart below and be sure to clearly understand what is expected of you during each phase of each
round.
Round/Phase
Team Members
1AC
1NC
2AC
2NC
NCX
ACX
NR
AR
First Affirmative
Constructive
*Speaks
Flows /
Preps
Flows
Flows
Flows
Flows
Flows
Flows
Cross Examination
Answers
Preps
Listens
Listens
Asks
Listens
Listens
Listens
First Negative
Constructive
Flows
*Speaks
Flows /
Preps
Flows
Flows
Flows
Flows
Flows
Cross Examination
Listens
Answers
Preps
Listens
Listens
Asks
Listens
Listens
Second Affirmative
Constructive
Flows
Flows
*Speaks
Flows /
Preps
Flows
Flows
Flows
Flows
Cross Examination
Listens
Listens
Answers
Preps
Asks
Listens
Listens
Listens
Second Negative
Constructive
Flows
Flows
Flows
*Speaks
Flows
Flows
Flows
Flows
Cross Examination
Listens
Listens
Listens
Answers
Listens
Asks
Preps
Flows
Negative Rebuttal
Flows
Flows
Flows
Flows
Flows
Flows
*Speaks
Flows /
Preps
Positive Rebuttal
Flows
Flows
Flows
Flows
Flows
Flows
Flows
*Speaks
*Remember that any time you are about to speak next (not cross examine, but actually deliver a speech), you
may use any amount of the team’s prep time. Be sure to save some time for your rebuttal speaker, who will
probably need it to prepare his final argument.
3
Specific Purpose and Elements of Each Speech
First Affirmative Constructive (1AC)
Makes clear that the Affirmative side supports the resolution.
The following are key concepts that the First Affirmative will outline in his/her speech:
• Definitions: there are many interpretations of the key terms in the resolution; try to find the
definitions that help your case, but be careful to leave your opposition room to debate; in other
words, you should not be abusive in your definitions. If you define the terms in such a way that the
opposition is not able to argue with the premise, it is counter-productive to debate and the judge
may reject your interpretation.
• Value Premise: some debate coaches suggest that you present a theme or controlling idea of your
case. The value premise should unify the whole case under an abstract framework that will provide
unity to the diverse arguments that follow. Examples of value premises include Freedom, Quality of
Life, Legitimate Government, Morality, Justice, and etc.
• Contentions/Values: a maximum of four unique and desirable principles or standards supported by
an affirmation of the resolution should be presented. Debaters should also introduce evidence in
support of the contention and explain why the value is relevant to the resolution.
• Value Criteria: a standard for judging the truth of the resolution. A value criterion could be restated
as “the resolution is true if…” It is a tangible means of measuring the value premise. You could
defend multiple criteria, but they should all link back to your value premise. Take the example of
Maximization of Rights as a criterion and Justice as a value; the criterion would state, “this round is
won by showing that justice is achieved by the maximization of rights.”
Cross-Examination (ACX & NCX)
•
•
•
•
Get Information: Ask questions to help you understand their arguments.
Use answers against the opposing team later: ask questions to set up your future arguments
Prep Time: the cross-examiner should always make use of the entirety of time allotted for CX as this
time is considered to be free prep time for the next speaker.
Act like a polite, friendly person: Show the judge what a prepared and patient debater you are
(although everyone knows your team will use your opponent’s answers to destroy them later)
First Negative Constructive (1NC)
Makes clear that the Negative side rejects the resolution. Attack the Affirmative case and begin laying out
additional issues for the negative.
• Redefine terms: the negative may choose to propose an alternative definition for one of the terms
presented by the 1AC. You must explain why the alternative definition should be preferred.
• Case Arguments: make arguments against the specifics of the affirmative case
• Value criteria: the 1NC may offer an alternative value premise upon which the round should be
evaluated. He should also explain why that criterion should be preferred.
• Off-Case Arguments: introduce 1-3 desirable values that are mutually exclusive with the affirmation
of the resolution.
• Evidence: present evidence in support of the arguments made in your speech or to challenge
evidence introduced in the 1AC.
4
Second Affirmative Constructive (2AC)
Defends Affirmative positions, refutes Negative positions, and is the last opportunity for the Affirmative to
introduce new arguments.
• If necessary, defend Affirmative interpretations of resolutional terms and reestablish support for the
Affirmative value criterion.
• Utilizes arguments raised in cross-examination.
Second Negative Constructive (2NC)
Refute Affirmative positions, defend Negative positions, and capitalize on last opportunity to introduce new
arguments.
• Division of Labor: The 2NC and NR are back-to-back—there is no affirmative speech in between
them. The 2NC and NR should cover different issues. The primary objective of the 2NC should be
refutation of arguments presented in previous Affirmative speeches.
Negative Rebuttal (NR)
Summarizes the justification for a negative ballot.
• Overview: briefly outline 2-3 reasons why the negative should win the round.
• Refutation: undermine affirmative arguments that must be refuted in order to win the round.
• Extension: expand upon negative arguments necessary to win the round.
• Cross Examination: may use information obtained from cross-examination of the 1AC or 2AC
• Evidence: may adduce, to a limited degree, evidence in support of arguments presented in the
speech, but may not initiate new arguments.
• Value criterion: explain why the negative case meets the prevailing value criterion, justify that
criterion, and explain why the Affirmative case falls outside the scope of the criterion.
Affirmative Rebuttal (AR)
Summarizes the justification for an affirmative ballot.
• Overview: briefly outline 2-3 reasons why the affirmative should win the round.
• Refutation: undermine negative arguments that must be refuted in order to win the round.
• Extension: expand upon affirmative arguments necessary to win the round.
• Cross Examination: may use information obtained from cross-examination of the 1NC or 2NC
• Evidence: may adduce, to a limited degree, evidence in support of arguments presented in the
speech, but may not initiate new arguments.
• Value criterion: explain why the affirmative case meets the prevailing value criterion, justify that
criterion, and explain why the Negative case falls outside the scope of the criterion.
5
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