Uploaded by Ellie Gates

ETHICS How to Prepare for a LD Debate

How to Prepare for a Lincoln-Douglas Debate
Step 1: Define the resolution. Make sure you understand all of the words in the resolution and what it
Step 2: Chose a side to debate. Are you going to be on the Affirmative side (AFF) or the Negative side
Step 3: Once you chose a side, you need to pick a value that you will be arguing. It is the most
important part of a case. Values are ideas, theories, emotions, philosophies or any number of things.
Example values include, life, liberty, freedom, free will, knowledge, safety, family, and justice.
Step 4: Brainstorm ideas for potential contentions. Contentions are the main arguments in a case.
Each side will have their own contentions, generally anywhere from 2-5, and has the responsibility to
refute (argue against) the other side’s contentions as well.
Step 5: Write your contentions. Use a tag line to begin them. A tag line is a short few words that
summarizes what the whole contention is about. Each contention should be about ½ to ¾ of a page.
Each contention needs to support your chosen value.
Step 6: In addition to a value, you will need criterion for your argument. A criterion is a way to
measure or test a decision, judgment, or in this case a value. It is used as a way to prove your value
when comparing it to an opponent’s value. For example, philosophical theories or ideals, such as the
Social Contract, Utilitarianism, and the Marketplace of Ideas are some.
Step 7: After you have written your case, make sure to come up with some voting issues. Voting issues,
sometimes called voters, are generally 2-5 short points that summarize why that side won the debate.
They are what the debater believes the judge should vote on, therein lies the name, voting issues.
Debate Time!
•Affirmative Constructive (AFF reads case) 6 min.
•Cross Examination of AFF (NEG questions AFF about case) 3 min.
•Negative Constructive (NEG reads case and refutes all of AFF case) 7 min.
•Cross Examination of NEG (AFF questions NEG about case) 3 min.
•1 Affirmative Rebuttal (AFF defends case and refutes NEG case) 4 min.
•1 Negative Rebuttal (NEG defends case, refutes AFF case, and provides Voting Issues) 6 min.
•2 Affirmative Rebuttal (AFF defends case, refutes NEG case, and provides Voting Issues) 3 min.