• Ollie Rourke

Day Four - Case Structure and Evidence preparation

We're already in day four here at the Lexington Debate Institute, and we’re impressed with the progress of all the students!

We started our day off with a debrief of the topic. We reviewed arguments for the Pro and Con sides, generating a lengthy list for reference during research. Afterwards, we lead the students through sample cases that were used in real debate tournaments, as our camp topic was the official Public Forum Topic in November of 2016. Once the students began understanding the general structure behind a case, we delved into each specific component. First we explained that a case is organized by contentions, which are broad arguments that pertain to the resolution. A case generally has three unique contentions, which are followed by sub-points that provide more in depth details. We also explained that each contention requires multiple pieces of evidence to provide justification and reasoning for the claim.

After lunch, we went over the skill of “cutting a card,” which is debate lingo for formatting a concise piece of evidence for presentation in a case. We explained that a card contains three main components. The first section is called a tag: it contains a brief sentence or phrase that summarizes the evidence. The second section is called a cite - it includes the author name and date. Additionally, the students included other information such as url/website link, author qualifications, website owner, and article title. The last section is the most important - it contains the actual text of the evidence. The students scanned through different articles, websites, and scientific journals in search of data to justify their claims.

Afterwards, we had our second full practice debate. Students had the chance to use some of their own research in these debates. They flipped sides, meaning if they affirmed yesterday, they had the chance to negate today. We'll keep doing this in the practice debates and the mock tournament next week, so students can learn about both sides of the topic. We’ve noticed that the students have grown increasingly confident in their ability to present arguments as their public speaking skills improve!


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