debate and debate adjudication

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    Debate and Debate Adjudication: an introduction to adjudicating in

    National Polytechnics English Olympics

    Rachmat Nurcahyo, M.A


    A. What is Debate

    Debating is a clash of arguments.What is challenging in debating is that you will find

    strict rules of conduct and quite sophisticated arguing techniques and you will often be in a

    position where you will have to argue the opposite of what you believe in. or any issue,

    there are always different sides of perspectives! different story of why do people support or

    disagree with certain issues. Debating see"s to e#plore the reasons behind each side. $o ma"ethose reasons understandable and convincing, you should deliver your arguments with good

    communication s"ills.

    %nieder &'(()* believes that debating is about change. +n debating, you are constantly

    engaged in a struggle to better our lives, our community, and our future. ou should never be

    satisfied with the status quo since something in our lives needs improving. Debate is the

    process that determines how change should occur. Debate occurs on the floor of the -ouse of

    Representatives, during residential /andidates campaigns, during government meetings, and

    at your corners of schools. Debating could be formal such as when the 0eneral Assembly of

    the 1nited Nations debates whether to sanction %uriah for crimes againts civilians. Debating

    shall be less formal when you are spea"ing againts your classmates2 conviction about rules in

    school. Debating could also be informal, such as a debate with your parents about when you

    can begin having a boyfriend or a girlfriend.

    Research on debating evidences by 3raa" Andre &'((4* advances that debate can be

    described as a formal discussion where two opposing sides follow a set of agreed rules toengage in an oral e#change of different points of view on an issue. ormal debates are

    commonly seen in public meetings or legislative assemblies, where individuals freely choose

    which side of an issue to support, and also in schools or university competitions, where the

    participants are often assigned a particular side for which to advocate.

    B. Why Debate

    +n Debate, you always need to hear both sides of an opinion. -ear all of the

    information involved. %omeone on the other side may ma"e you rethin" your own opinion.

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    ersuade you to change your mind. +n any case, it always stimulates your brain and causes

    you to form a stronger opinion. 5ven when you change your mind and believe what the other

    side thin"s. $he more information you can gather, the better. +t is important to see two sides

    of an argument. Also debate is essentially about persuasion as most have an audience, so you

    need to be able to show that you have thought enough about what you are saying to be able to

    defend that position from someone of an alternative view.

    6elieving that debate is a challenging and highly rewarding activity for most who

    become involved in it, there are a full range of benefits associated with being on the debate

    team. eople debate for couple of reasons. %ome thin" that debate is fun. $he vast ma7ority

    of the tens of thousands of students who compete in debate tournaments each year will tell

    you that debate is fun. $he e#perience is a little different from one to another, but generally

    the thrill of competition, the teamwor",and the travel opportunities ma"e debate fun. Debate

    is also about a teamwor". An additional benefit of getting involved is building friendships

    with teammates who en7oy similar interests. Debate also trigger public spea"ing s"ills. Most

    people naturally avoiding public spea"ing provides a non8threatening environment to practice

    these s"ills so that you will have the s"ills necessary to do a great 7ob before public. $his

    increases your chances of doing well in important events such as interviews for 7obs or

    scholarships. Debate arms you with analytical s"ills defined as the ability to critically analy9ea problem and propose wor"able solutions. $his is a s"ill that debate best teaches and high8

    level leaders and business people possess. Research s"ills would be an invaluable s"ill you

    will gain in debate. $his covers traditional library research to the internet8based research. :ne

    of e#cellences in debate is listening and note ta"ing s"ills. Debate requires that you become a

    careful listener and good note ta"er. $his helps you get and learn faster and understand


    Many of succesful people li"e reputable lawyers, business e#ecutives, and elected

    leaders were involved in debate, and for good reason. %imply put, debate8related s"ills help

    you get ahead and stay there. $he power to persuade is highly respected and there is no better

    way to master this art than through debate.

    !. Basics o" Argumentation

    Why is argument important in debate; +n many ways, the answers seem obvious! +t is

    as important as air for our life. +t is important to be able to argue rationally both in a debate

    championship or in a real life. %econd, "nowledge often comes through argument. :nce a

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    case is proved! a dispute is opened up and then solved! a new hypothesis is posited! you are

    as"ed to loo" at an old problem in a new way. $hird, argument is about clarification as well

    as persuasion. Well8argued speeches contain a sharp sense of meaning to an issue. ourth,

    argument can be en7oyable < and students are spaces in which argument is encouraged and

    where it can flourish. $he foregoing reasons may seem obvious, since argument cannot be

    separated from debate. art of this chapter is to help you learn better about how to bring the

    best from you with regard to argument. laying arguments is li"e playing your gadgets= +f

    you understand how they wor", you are li"ely to get more service out of them, understand

    what went wrong when they brea" down, and fi# the problem before your ne#t outing. What

    matters most about argument to the debater is in differentiating bad argument from a good

    argument. +n debate, this, in many ways, remainss problematic.$here is no such thing as a

    total bad argument! rather, you should 7udge arguments based on the effectiveness. arguments

    shouldmust be 7udged on the basis of their effectiveness.

    $here are three most common types of argument. $hey are induction# deduction# and

    causation. $hese include the vast ma7ority of possible logical relationships used in debates.

    $. %nduction

    +nductive reasoning is the process of citing a sufficient number of specific e#amples to prove

    a generali9ation. ou may characteri9e the process as >from the specific to the general.2 ou

    cite e#ample ?, e#ample ', and so on, and then draw the conclusion, a generali9ed statement

    about those factual e#amples. ou can also reverse the process. ou may state the

    generali9ation that you intend to prove and then cite e#amples to support it. Debaters utili9e

    the later technique most frequently when using induction.

    ou must consider the following five principles when using induction=

    ?. $he e#amples cited must be factual, not hypothetical.

    '. $he e#amples must be analogous! they must be of the same type, species, or category.

    @. $he induction must be built on a sufficient number of factual e#amples. What

    constitutes a sufficient number depends on the nature of your sub7ect and your

    audience. +f you are tal"ing about nuclear power, for instance, you cannot not use

    e#amples from +ran alone. An audience that has "nowledge of your sub7ect will

    usually require more e#amples than one that has none. An audience that does not want

    to believe your conclusion will demand more e#amples than an audience that wants to

    believe it.

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    . $he conclusion of induction is a generali9ation.

    B. ou can effectively undermine an inductive argument by challenging the

    methodology or process used in collecting the data. Whenever you tal" in terms of

    percentages, ratios, indices, the ma7ority of cases, and the minority, you are referring

    to terms statistical in nature. et in most sub7ects for which we are apt to become

    advocates and use such statistical terms, the probabilities are great that the actual

    statistics have been gathered by a sampling process &an inductive process* rather than

    the complete counting.

    +nduction is a powerful weapon in influencing people2s beliefs. %pea"ers use it to

    defend or challenge the system of status quo, to demonstrate historical trends, to estimate

    public opinion, to show that certain courses of action are advantageous, and to establish

    universal truths. +nduction is used widely in all areas of endeavor to uncover "nowledge and

    verify findings.$herefore, you who wishes to become an effective debater will learn how to

    use it to strengthen your arguments and to refute the arguments of others.

    &. Deduction

    Deduction is one of the most common forms of reasoning found in debate. $he

    essence of deduction is to ta"e two ideas that we accept, find a relationship between them,

    and then draw this relationship as a conclusion. $hose investigating crimes often use such

    reasoning. or e#ample, if a murder was committed in one city on %aturday night, and if the

    enemy of the victim was seen in another city at the same time, then the enemy cannot be the

    murderer because of the accepted generali9ation that a person cannot be in two places at

    once. :ften a deductive argument will ta"e some accepted generali9ation and apply it to a

    specific situation. +f one accepts the generali9ation, then it seems reasonable to accept the

    specific conclusion.

    Deductive reasoning is that form of reasoning in which a conclusion is drawn from

    premises. $he following are e#amples of deductive reasoning=

    Any nation that has good univesrities has good financing for them.

    1%A has good universities.

    $herefore, 1%A has had good financing for universities.

    Any person who has a record of honesty in the past can be relied upon to be honest in

    the future.

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    Dr. Agus has a record of honesty in the past.

    $herefore, Dr. Agus can be relied upon to be honest in the future.

    Note that the proposition to be proved in each case is the concluding statement of the

    deduction. +n each of the above e#amples the conclusion is drawn from the two statements

    that precede it. $he first two statements are the premises upon which the conclusion is based.

    '. !ausation(causal reasoning

    /ausal reasoning is the form of reasoning in which you can demonstrate that an event

    that happens first has the means, power, facilities, andCor desire to produce a second event.

    $eachers often suggest to a student, ou2ll fail because you are cheating.E +n this case, + amsuggesting a certain conclusion, namely, you will fail. $his is our proposition to be proved.

    :ur support or proof for the proposition is the statement that you are cheating. $he actual

    process of causal reasoning in its simplest form involves the statement of either a cause or an

    event as sufficient support for the whole reasoning process. $his is what you did when you

    cited cheating as the obvious reason why you would fail. +n most of your spea"ing, however,

    your causal reasoning will ta"e the form of e#plaining why the cause produces the effect.

    ou can substantiate causal relationships and strengthen your arguments by citing

    e#perts who attest to the relationship or by using induction. or e#ample, to prove that

    vitamin A in a food supply would reduce blindness, you could present evidence that

    thousands of people used it in three different cities, with the same results. ou can then say

    that the causal relationship was proved. -ere are two e#amples of causal reasoning=

    %tatistics show that smo"ers have a higher incidence of lung disease. $he cause is that

    smo"ing damages the lungs.

    /orruption in the current government will ma"e it difficult for the party to win the

    upcoming election. $he cause is that voters will not vote for a corrupt government.

    D. )tructure o" Arguments in Debate

    $here are various ways to e#plain the structure of an argument.

    /onsidering the structure of arguments, good arguments should also comprise of A*E+=

    ?. Assertion< the statement which should be proved.

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    $his a statement encapsulated in ONE sentence, which answers the following

    question= Why the 7udges should support your proposition; +f you don2t manage to

    formulate your assertion in one sentence, you2d better drop this argument. +n most of

    the cases it will be a failure.

    '. *easoning < the reason why that statement is logical. +t isn2t enough to state

    something. +t is equally important to e#plain your statement. %o if you ma"e a

    statement youu should e#plain to the ad7udicators= Why your assetion is true and


    @. E,idence< e#amplesCdata that support the assertion and reasoning above. +t isn2t

    enough to claim and e#plain something. Why the 7udges should believe you; +t is

    important to substantiate your claim and e#planation with "acts# statistics and

    e-perts opinions&we call this staff < evidence*.

    . +in/ Bac/< the e#planation of the relevance of this argument to the motion. As you

    have tal"ed a lot e#plaining the argument and substantiating it with evidence.$he

    7udges might have forgotten what the whole staff is about. %o it is worth to remind

    them your assertion for the second time thus ma"ing a conclusion.

    Another simple way to understand a good argument is by understanding how to create

    a good set of argument. $o create a good argument, similar to the AR5F principle, 7ust do not

    forget the following parts= a claim, an e#planation of the claim, evidence and conclusion. +

    will e#plain how to ma"e a good argument on the following motion= $his -ouse would 6an

    Gun" ood from schoolsE.

    $. A claim.

    A claim is a statement encapsulated in ONE sentence, which answers the followingquestion= Why the ad7udicators should support your proposition; +f you don2t manage to

    formulate your claim in one sentence, you2d better drop this argument. +n most of the cases it

    will be a failure.

    %o, a good claim regarding the above mentioned motion can be=

    0We would ban Gun" ood from schools in order to maintain the good academic

    achievement of the students1.

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    &. An e-planation o" the claim.

    +t isn2t enough to state something. 5#plain then.+t is equally important to e#plain your

    statement. +t is notself8evident that the banning 7un" food will bring benefit to the students2

    health. %o if you ma"e a statement of such a "ind you should e#plain to the ad7udicators=

    Whythe banning of 7un" food could be beneficial in health; A possible e#planation can be=

    02.currently the eating habit o" the students determines the physical

    condition o" the students. )cholars belie,e that jun/ "ood does not contribute at

    all to the 3uality o" human health. %n addition# it is belie,ed that jun/ "ood

    causes ,arious health problems. By eliminating jun/ "ood "rom schools# the

    go,ernment has automatically protected the students "rom easy access to jun/

    "ood. Then# jun/ "ood 4ill be absent in the students eating habit and the

    students 4ill stay healthy. )o# 4ith good physical per"ormance# the students 4ill

    be better in their academic per"ormance.1

    '. E,idence to bac/ up your claim and e-planation.

    +t isn2t enough to claim and e#plain something. Why the ad7udicators should believe

    you; +t is important to bac/ upyour claim and e#planation with "acts# statistics and e-perts

    opinions. %o bearing this point in mind our argument evolves into=

    02.this is pro,ed by the rising number o" students 4ho are addicted to

    jun/ "ood. These students "ind problems o" health and many times they cannotattend classes and e-ams. %n !hina# numbers o" students missing classes because

    o" getting sic/ is getting higher. The reason is simply they are addicted to jun/

    "ood. Those students cannot impro,e their academic 3uality.1

    5. A conclusion.

    After you tal" a lot e#plaining your argument and evidence, the 7udges need to recall

    to what is the main idea of your case. $he 7udges might have forgotten what the whole staff is

    about. %o it is worth to remind them your claim for the second time thus ma"ing a


    0)ince jun/ "ood contributes much in the decrease 3uality o" students

    per"ormance# you should support our proposition to ban jun/ "ood "rom schools.1

    $here are two ways to prove that a proposition is true.

    ?. ou can loo" at every "nown instance and show that in each case the proposition holds


    '. ou can analyse the proposition and show that it is supported by other "nown principles.

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    +n debating it is usually impossible to use the first type of reasoning, because we debate

    generalisations with millions if not billions of "nown instances. %o, we have to use the

    second type of reasoning. -owever, an ama9ing number of debaters donHt seem to understand

    the difference.

    E. A 6ypothetical E-ample

    %uppose that two teams are debating the motion that Ithis house believes that people

    in the 1% are all feminist nowI. $he government chooses to interpret the motion reasonably

    literally= -ow does it prove its case; :bviously it cannot as" everybody in the 1% whether or

    not they are feminists. Nor can it rely upon opinion polls= if the motion was as simple to

    prove as that, it wouldnHt have been set for debate. +nstead, it is going to have to ma"e somegeneralisations about the motion in order to present a coherent argument within the time


    or e#ample, it could loo" at the public attitudes of important institutions in society

    such as governments big businesses, schools, religions, the media and sport. art of its

    reasoning process would be that when the ma7or institutions change their attitudes they either

    reflect the views ofH the general public or, perhaps, lead the general public towards new


    $he opening government spea"er could outline a central thesis that went something

    li"e this= I+n todayHs society the ma7or institutions generally adopt feminist attitudes. $hese

    institutions either lead society &such as the media* or reflect the views of the ma7ority in

    society &such as parliaments and big business*.

    rom that point onwards we "now what the government team is going to prove. When

    it discusses the role and attitudes of each ma7or institution in society we can see why it is

    doing it and where the argument is going. + donHt want to get side8trac"ed into an argument

    whether this is a winning case or not. Rather, + want to illustrate the point that the government

    team has to present a generalised case and prove it logically, rather than relying upon large

    numbers of e#amples in the hope that these will do the 7ob instead.

    One !ase or )e,eral

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    +f we accept that a case has to be a central thesis supported by each spea"er, it is

    obvious that a team cannot be internally contradictory in its team case, it is a debate between

    teams, not a discussion between ) individuals. All spea"ers on a team must be contributing to

    the same case, not to different ones.

    1sing the feminist e#ample above, suppose that the first government spea"er had

    outlined the case set out above,the second spea"er could not present an argument that said

    that we were all hypocrites who merely gave lip8service to feminism. While this is a valid

    government case it is quite inconsistent with the case presented by the first spea"er, if we

    were all hypocrites, then the ma7or institutions in society would not be reflecting any general

    attitude in support of feminism.

    *ebuttal or !lash

    $he use of generalised cases has consequences for rebuttal or clash. $he opposition

    team cannot concentrate on attac"ing the e#amples used by the government. $he e#amples

    might be wea", but the central case might still be sound. +nstead, it will have to concentrate

    on attac"ing that case, because that is where the debate actually lies.

    +n the feminist motion above, suppose that the government team used as an e#ample

    the pro8feminist attitudes of one newspaper from a small country town. +f the opposition team

    attac"ed 7ust that e#ample, it would show only that the government has chosen a particularly

    wea" e#ample to illustrate its argument. 6ut the government case might still be sound. +t

    might be true that the media generally had feminist attitudes, even if the e#ample it chose to

    illustrate the point was a poor one.

    $herefore, to succeed in this part of the debate, the opposition would have to show

    that the media generally did not have pro8feminist attitudes. :f course= +t could ridicule the

    government= I+s such a trivial e#ample the best that you can find to illustrate your case;E 6ut

    this would merely be part of the process of attac"ing the general proposition that the media is

    pro8feminist rather than an end in itself.

    $here is another consequence for rebuttal. +t may be that the government has used a

    number of e#amples to illustrate the same point. +f they can all be disposed of with the same

    piece of rebuttal, the opposition does not have to attac" each of the e#amples individually as

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    well. or e#ample, suppose that the government in the feminist debate loo"ed at the attitudes

    towards feminism in the ma7or religions of the country. $he opposition could respond in two

    ways to this argument. +t could rebut the supposedly pro8feminist attitudes in each of those

    religions. Alternatively, it could argue that religion plays such a minor role in society that the

    feminist attitudes of religions are largely irrelevant to the debate. $hus, it would be

    unnecessary for it to deal with each e#ample of a ma7or religion dealt with by the

    government, because allof them are irrelevant according to its arguments.


    A. %ntroduction to Adjudicating !ompetiti,e Debates

    $here are many competitive debating championships following different formatsCstyle

    of debating around the world and in the region. Among these formats, the Australasian, the

    Asian arliamentary and the 6ritish arliamentary formats are the most well "nown in the

    region. Although these formats differ in some areas, the s"ills to ad7udicate these debates are

    very similar. Assessments of teams2 strengths and wea"nesses, arguments, manner etc.

    follows more or less the same rules. When ad7udicating competitions in different formats, the

    ad7udicators need a good understanding of the rules of the different formats in addition to thegeneral rules of assessment of a debate.

    $. *ole o" Adjudicators# the !hair and the Panel in

    Asian(Australasian Debate

    $he three main roles of an ad7udicator is to decide the winner, reason out the decision

    and provide constructive criticism for the teams. A single ad7udicator or a panel ad7udicates

    debates. +n the case of a panel at the AsianCAustralasian debates, the ad7udicators decide thewinner individually and fill up the score sheets and pass them to the chair. $he chair opens all

    the score sheets only after he has filled up his. $he winner is decided based on ma7ority. After

    the winner has been decided, the chair generally conducts a discussion among the

    ad7udicators regarding the strengths and wea"nesses of the teams. No change of decision is

    allowed upon the discussion. $he chair delivers the verdict, and in case the chair is in the

    minority, it is advisable that a member of the ma7ority does so.

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    &. There is no right or 4rong# is there

    Many of us will say, in debate ad7udication there is no right or wrong decision. $his is

    only partially right. es, there is no right or wrong when it comes to assessing the sub7ective

    elements of a close debate. 6ut there are clear8cut rights and wrongs when it comes to the

    process of ad7udication. +t is obviously wrong if an ad7udicator fails to listen to an idea of a

    team no matter how ill developed it may be. Nothing is right about not noting that a team has

    developed most of its substance in the last few minutes of the debate. $he most important

    aspect of being right is to consider every single issue and remain methodologically correct in

    comparing the faults and strengths of the teams.

    '. Ta/ing Notes: *e4inding the Tape

    Ad7udicators should maintain detailed notes during the debate. Notes should be ta"en

    in such a way that a glance over the notes reminds the ad7udicators as how every speech and

    the whole debate progressed. 6y loo"ing at the notes, one should be able to rerun the debate

    in hisCher mind. + call it visuali9ing the debate once again after it is over. $his is not to say

    that the ad7udicators should ta"e tens of pages of notes only to find that they never have the

    time to loo" at them before they have to decide, or never have the time to appreciate the

    beauty of the speech by loo"ing at the debater and en7oy hisCher presentation. 6ut as + said, it

    should be enough to rerun the debate in your mind.

    + found one practice very helpful and that is to ma"e my own remar"s at the end of

    every speech regarding the debater2s performance. Remar"s li"e >reads too much from notes2,

    >did an e#cellent 7ob in dealing with a particular issue e.g. fairness2, or >fails to address a

    particular issue e.g. fairness which is the main argument of the other team2 >the questions

    he Cshe raised that + e#pect the ne#t debater to answer2, >the questions heCshe failed to answer

    that were raised by the previous debater2. 6efore a speech, one may note down the issues or

    questions that one e#pects the debater to address. $hese are not issues that + thin" are

    important, rather these are issues that the previous debater has raised. $hese methods are

    every person2s own. + have seen lot of ad7udicators using pens of different colours to ta"e a

    special note of things they want to remember. $hese remar"s, colouring etc provide an

    e#planation behind the interim mar"s and help ad7udicators rerun the debate when needed.

    5. Adjudicating Debates as the A,erage *easonable Person

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    $he ad7udicator enters the debate chamber as an >average reasonable person. An

    average reasonable person is a fairly well8informed citi9en of the globe with an average

    understanding of global and regional issues, and a basic understanding of popular disciplines

    and logic. $he ad7udicator must set aside hisCher e#ceptional personal preferences,

    e#periences, opinions or e#pert "nowledge, which will not be shared by an average

    reasonable person. An ad7udicator is supposed to be a 7ac"8of8all8trades and master of none.

    -owever the ad7udicator is an e#pert in terms of the rules of debate. Ad7udicators

    &often being e# debaters* tend to analyse the argument by pin pointing the possible

    wea"nesses of it, as the opposing team would do it. $his sometimes will be seen as >entering

    into the debate2 &discussed afterwards*. Ad7udicators must strictly avoid this. $he ad7udicators

    should merely determine whether the arguments are convincing in the eyes of an averagereasonable person. An interesting observation in this respect is that an average reasonable

    person is more easily convinced than a debater, because he is open to be convinced.

    0enerally an average reasonable person is equally easily convinced otherwise when the

    merits of the opposing side are pointed out. Ad7udicators should avoid coming in between

    this process of the teams trying to convince the average reasonable person by bringing their

    own views of what is wea" or what is strong unless it is obviously so.

    9. Assessing the )trength o" an Argument ,s. Entering into the Debate

    $he most obvious instance of ad7udicators entering into the debates is when

    ad7udicators bring in their e#pert "nowledge or preferences into the debate. $hey also enter

    into the debate if they build the arguments for the teams. Ad7udicators should not supplement

    an unclear or ill developed argument with their additional e#planation. -owever, the

    ad7udicators2 tas" is to assess the argument2s strength. -e should point out the wea"nesses

    that an average reasonable person will observe. -e should not go beyond that and assume the

    duty of finding faults on behalf of the opposing teams. +n this case he can be seen as entering

    into the debate.

    $a"e a very tric"y e#ample &real*. $he debate is about genetic engineering of crops.

    $he government team argued that the third world does not have proper bodies that can

    regulate the growth of genetically engineered crops. $he opposition team ignored the

    argument. $he ad7udicator in the verdict stated that he finds the argument not convincing

    because as an average reasonable person he would "now that in third world countries there is

    the ministry of agriculture that can regulate. +f this was to be raised by the opposing team,

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    then the government team could have responded with the issue of ineffectiveness of and

    corruption in third world ministries. + also ponder whether the average reasonable person

    "nows how efficientC corrupt the third world ministries are. At the end, + concluded that in

    this debate the ad7udicator has either entered the debate or has only considered half of the

    average reasonable person2s "nowledge &that there is the ministry of agriculture, since the

    ad7udicator ignored the fact of ineffectiveness of the third world ministries*. +n any case the

    ad7udicator was methodologically wrong. $he best practice in these cases will be to let the

    teams fight out what is right or more convincing and for the ad7udicators not to bring issues

    unless the teams themselves pic" it up. As + said the average reasonable person will not loo"

    for faults, but will mar" one when it is made obvious.

    B. Basics o" Adjudication: atter# anner ; ethod

    Debates are generally 7udged on the basis of matter &(*, manner &(* and method

    &'(*. +n Worlds the categories are matter and manner while method is included within the


    $. Assessing atter

    Matter includes Definition &set up of the case, burden of proof etc.*, arguments &"ey

    statement, e#planation, analogy, e#amples, evidences etc.*, rebuttals &"ey statement,

    e#planation, analogy, e#amples, evidences etc.*

    $he ad7udicators should loo" at all these aspects of matter and give the appropriate score to

    the debater.


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    $here must be a clear and logical lin" between the motion and the definition. or

    e#ample, consider the motion $his house supports affirmative actionE. $he

    0overnment defines affirmative action to mean supporting a IdisadvantagedI group.

    $his group, according to the 0overnment, should not be limited to 7ust humans. $he

    0overnment then argues that in the animal world, some species are endangered and

    therefore can be considered IdisadvantagedI because of their low numbers. A prime

    e#ample of this are the whales which are hunted and "illed by Gapanese whalers. $hen

    the conte#t in which the 0overnment set the debate is that the 1N should impose

    economic sanctions on Gapan for its whaling activityI. $o propose a definition that is

    only remotely lin"ed to the motion such as this is called=s3uirelling=. $his is strictly

    prohibited, and such definitions can be challenged by the :pposition.

    $he definition should not incorporate overly specific "nowledge.+t is unreasonable if

    the 0overnment proposes a definition that includes topics which are outside that of

    the range of a typical well8read university student. +n other words, the definition must

    be limited to topics which the :pposition can be reasonably e#pected to debate and

    must not depend on a detailed understanding of specific facts which may not be

    available to the general public.

    $he definition should not run counter to resolution. At times, due to lac" of

    understanding of the topic or even intentionally, 0overnment teams end up ta"ing the

    :pposition2s case. An e#ample of such a definition is the motion that -uman rights

    is but a song and danceE where the 0overnment defined the word butE to mean notE

    and started arguing that human rights is a serious thing and not a song and dance. $he

    :pposition also argued in the same way that human rights are important. $his

    definition is certainly against the spirit of the motion.

    $here could be other instances of unreasonableness of a definition. $hus the

    0overnment teams should not stretch the definition to an e#tent that a good ma7ority

    of ad7udicators find in unreasonable to some degree. 6y doing so the 0overnment

    ta"es the ris" of being challenged by the opposition and ad7udicators giving low score

    to them for a bad definition.

    ii. The de"inition must not be truistic or tautological.A truistic definition is one which

    cannot be rationally opposed. +f the 0overnment were to define the motion I$his

    -ouse believes that fighting fire with fire is 7ustifiedI to mean that there is

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    7ustification in oneHs "illing of another person in self8defence when the latter is

    threatening hisCher life, the :pposition may successfully challenge the case as truistic.

    $his is because no reasonable person can or should be e#pected to advocate otherwise.

    A tautological definition is one that proves itself by the very meaning and set up given

    to the topic.

    iii. The de"inition must not employ time(place setting.$he 0overnment may not set

    the time or place of the debate unfairly. -owever the 0overnment can bring the

    debate to a well "nown issue which, in effect, narrows the debate down to a region or

    country to be the centre of the debate. +n this case it will not be seen as an

    unreasonable place setting. or e#ample if the 0overnment defines the motion I$his

    -ouse believes that fighting fire with fire is 7ustifiedI as military intervention in the

    Middle85ast /onflict, the definition is fine. $he criterion to 7udge a timeCplace set

    definition is that of an >average reasonable person2. $he government can not narrow

    down the scope of the debate in terms of time and place in such a way that an >average

    reasonable person2 is not e#pected to "now or be able to debate the motion as defined.

    A good definition e#plains the "ey words of the topic, irons out the issuesCcontentions of the

    debate and identifies the burden of proof following the rules stated above.

    b. )econd# Arguments

    An argument has a basic statement. $hen it is followed by logical analysis and

    e#planations as to why the basic statement stands. 5vidences are adduced to substantiate the

    analysis. An argument is often concluded by lin"ing bac" to the burden of proof or the basic

    contention under the topic.

    $he ad7udicators should assess whether the arguments were developed sufficiently to

    meet the above requirements. Juestions that ad7udicators generally as" are= did the debater

    discharge his burden of proof, did the arguments logically prove his contention, did he

    demonstrate good understanding of the ma7or issues and relate smaller points to them, etc;

    $he ad7udicators should assess the strength of an argument regardless of whether the

    opposing team addresses it or not. A wea" argument is a wea" argument irrespective of

    whether the other team points it out or not. -owever, if an important argument of a team is

    plainly wea", an opposing team is equally guilty, if not more, if they do not address it. $o me

    the opposing team is even more to be blamed for letting the team get away with a wea"argument. +f the opposing team points out that an argument is wea", the team has an

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    opportunity to defend, but if the ad7udicator says so, they have no chance to defend.

    $herefore, the ad7udicators should treat an argument as wea" only when it is plainly wea" to

    an average reasonable person. $he ad7udicators, at the same time, should equally fault the

    opposing team on at least method &may include matter as well* for not addressing it.

    c. Third# *ebuttals

    $he rebuttals are similar to arguments. Arguments are to prove a claim whereas rebuttals

    are to disprove the validity of that argument or claim. $hus good rebuttals will also,

    generally, have a basic statement, e#planation, analysis and supporting evidences. A team

    does not have to rebut each and every e#ample introduced by the other team. +nstead they

    should rebut the fundamental logic of the argument or the case and raise possible ob7ections

    to the proposal &if any*.

    &. Assessing anner

    ollowing are elements of manner= respectable attitude towards the 7udges and the

    other team, vocal style= volume, clarity, pace, intonation etc, appropriate use of notes, eye

    contact, body language, hand gestures, impression of sincerity, humour, wit, appropriate


    Assessing manner is very sub7ective. %ome ad7udicators li"e aggressive debaters,

    while many others li"e the calm ones. :ne important thing that ad7udicators should remember

    is that there is no one best way to debate! there is no difference between an aggressive and

    forceful debater and one who is calm and understated if both are able to demonstrate the

    ability to persuade and hold the attention of the ad7udicators. Notwithstanding this, there is

    however a limit to the degree of acceptable ImannerI 8 neither an overly aggressive nor a too

    understated debater will score many points. Dress is not part of manner &to the surprise of the

    many traditional ad7udicatorsK*. $he debaters should not be racist, se#ist or plainly offensive

    to person, or ma"e derogatory remar"s about other debaters in the debate. $hese are also

    instances of bad manner.

    $he fundamental questions that decide the manner score, generally, are= >is the speech

    persuasive2, >is heCshe able to maintain the audience2s attention2, >is hisCher speech clear2 and

    perhaps many others.

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    '. Assessing ethod

    Method consists of three elements= a* organisation of the team2s case, b* organisation of

    individual speeches, c* responses of the team to the dynamics of the debate.


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    AsiansCAustrals will not present any new argument and will spend substantial amount of time

    on rebuttals. Reply spea"ers will bring an overall comparison showing the strength of the

    arguments of one team over the other.

    +ndividual structure should be assessed in terms of whether the spea"er performs the role

    e#pected of himCher effectively. Ad7udicators will also loo" at time management in the


    iii. Third# *esponses to the Dynamics

    Debates do not always progress the way teams thought it would before they entered the

    debate. At every point in the debate, some issues become of prime focus and the core of the

    debate and some other issues initially thought of being contentious become irrelevant or out

    of contention. %ometimes teams concede to some of the issues and thus it does not ma"e

    sense for the other team to spend time developing them. Debaters should understand these

    progresses and dynamics and respond accordingly and not 7ust go ahead and spea" as they

    planned during their preparation time.

    +f a debater ignores the most important arguments of the earlier spea"er and does not

    rebut them he lac"s dynamics and should thus score low in method, even though he rebuts the

    minor arguments of the other side. +t is possible that the debater understands the issues well

    and addresses them but hisCher responses are wea". +n this case he gets good score for method

    for understanding the dynamics of the debate but scores low in matter for unconvincing

    responses or arguments.

    !. 7udging a De"inition Debate: %t is erely a Technical !omple-ity

    A definition debate is not necessarily difficult to decide, if you are aware of the

    definitional rules. +n a definition debate the ad7udicators should first consider whether the

    definition provided by the government passes the rules. +f it does, the conclusion is that the

    challenge made by the opposition is un7ustified. +f the opposition leader cannot 7ustify the

    challenge he has already lost the debate on one count. 6ut this alone will not settle the whole

    debate! the ad7udicators still have to loo" at the developments that ta"e place after that.

    Ad7udicators have to consider how both teams argue out the case under each definition, or

    argue out the validity or otherwise of the definitions. Ad7udicators will also consider the

    >even ifs2 introduced by both teams when required and matter, manner method of teams as a

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    whole. $hus it is not merely who wins the issue of definitional challenge that automatically

    decides the debate. Ad7udicating a definition debate requires a careful analysis of the

    definitional rule and the technical roles performed by all debaters of both the teams.

    D. ar/ing Points o" %n"ormation

    $he debaters are advised to ta"e at least two :+s during their speeches. All debaters

    are advised to attempt to give :+s but they should not do so in a manner disruptive to the

    debater holding the floor. What amounts to be disruptive is sub7ective. -owever two clear

    e#amples are when a debater uses long and loud sentences 7ust to get the attention towards

    hisCher attempt to give :+s &+ have seen it happen* or say if a debater stands up on a :+

    within few seconds after he has been re7ected. A '( seconds waiting period before one stands

    up again is the rule of the thumb. :+s are assessed on the basis of the threat they pose to the

    strength of the argument of the debater and the value of its wit and humour. 6ut the responses

    to the :+s are 7udged on the basis of its logical and intellectual strength, promptness and

    confidence in answering, and value of its wit and humour.

    Mar"s for the :+s and responses to :+s should be incorporated within the mar"s of

    the speech in various categories. or e#ample if a debater is inactive in giving :+s he may

    score less in method. Again if a debater gives a brilliant :+ that "ills an argument instantly,

    he could be given additional matter mar"s for that. +t is relatively easy to mar" the responses

    to :+s as the responses are made within the speech and when it is being mar"ed, whereas it

    is rather difficult to mar" the :+s. 6ecause :+s are offered before or after the speech is

    mar"ed. +t is advisable that the ad7udicators loo" at the separate note they "eep regarding

    :+s and add into or deduct from their speech score as appropriate to reflect their offerings of

    :+s. or e#ample if a debater offers very good :+s after hisCher speech is already mar"ed,

    hisCher mar" can be increased to reflect hisCher activism in :+s. :n the other hand if a

    debater does not offer :+s or offers bad ones mar"s can be deducted from hisCher speech

    score. At the end, all the debaters2 score will not only reflect how they performed in their

    speeches but also their :+s throughout the debate.

    E. Asian(Australasian )tyle *eply )peeches

    Reply speeches are mar"ed out of B( &matter '(, manner '(, method ?(*. +t is easy to

    score a reply out of ?(( and then divide by '. A good reply speech is often a biased

    ad7udication. A good reply speech is the one that summarises the ma7or contentions of both

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    the teams and provides a summary of argumentation that too" place during the course of the

    debate proving that one team has substantial edge over the other. +t incorporates the

    arguments and rebuttals of both the teams in deducing a conclusive position.

    Ad7udicators should be careful regarding reply speeches as obviously a team, which is

    losing the debate in some areas of contention, may and will choose to down play or not even

    mention that those areas of contention e#ist. $his is why one reply speech on its own is only

    half the truth. Ad7udicators should not be too nave into believing that those were the only

    contentions, even though the other team fails to point out areas of contentions where they

    have an advantage. -owever, two reply speeches properly done should bring about the whole

    truth to the ad7udicators.

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    ten best speeches in that round. :ther information from the table above are clear. A speech

    should never go above )@ or below 4. + have rarely seen a debater in Asians scoring )( or

    above &Not that these tournaments do not have great debaters, rather they have strictly

    regulated ad7udication standards*. $hus when + give a spea"er ), + e#pect to see him in the

    0rand inal. A score 4 or will mean a quarter or semi finalist2s quality of speech.

    >. The argin in the !onte-t o" Asian(Australasian Debate

    Margin is the difference of the total score of the two teams. All Asians categorises the

    winCloss of teams into three categories= close, clear and thrashing. A description of these

    categories and the range of points within these categories are as follows=

    !ategory Points Description



    (.B8 A very close debate! only minor differences separating the

    two teams.

    /lear B8) A relatively clear decision, with one team having an

    obvious advantage.

    $hrashing O8?' A very clear win, with the losing team failing on one or

    more fundamental aspects of the debate.

    Margin reflects a comparison of the two teams in the debate. Whereas the spea"ers2

    score reflect both a relative comparison of the team2s spea"ers as well as an absolute

    assessment of the spea"ers vis8P8vis e#pected standard in the competition.

    +t is perfectly possible to come up with a margin of lot more than ?' despite mar"ing

    the speeches within the range of 48)@. At the end of the debate the ad7udicator should decide

    how much margin is suitable for the debate then ad7ust the spea"er2s score accordingly. $o

    ad7ust margin it is advisable that the ad7udicators bring the low scoring team up instead of

    bringing the high scoring team down. $his avoids victimising the e#cellent debaters meeting

    a wea" team. 6ut of course a compromise can be drawn when appropriate.


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    -uber, Robert and Alfred %nider. Influencing Through Argument, 'nd ed. New or"=

    +nternational Debate 5ducation Association, '((B.

    3raa", Andre.Debating High skills. /ape $own= -R%/ ress, '((4

    Nurcahyo, Rachmat.Introduction to BP Debate. 1npublished.'(??

    %neider, Alfred. Code of Debaters. New or"= +nternational Debate 5ducation