Speech and Debate Notes


Making an Argument:


Arguments consist of three parts:


  1. Assertion:  A statement that you are trying to prove with an argument. 

Example: Violent videogames should be banned.


  1. Reasoning:  The “because” of the argument, which offers support for your assertion.

Example: Because they desensitize children to violence.


  1. Evidence: This is the support for your reasoning, using examples, statistics, or scientific information.

Example:  Several studies show a direct link between children’s exposure to violent videogames and a tendency to act out violently at school. 


Debate Format:

Speaker Positions

There are three debaters per side.

Everyone gives one speech. This is

the order of  the speeches:

First proposition constructive

5 minutes

First opposition constructive

5 minutes

Second proposition constructive

5 minutes

Second opposition constructive

5 minutes

Opposition rebuttal

3 minutes

Proposition rebuttal

3 minutes


First Proposition Constructive (5 minutes):  This is the first speech presented in a debate. The first proposition speaker uses this speech to introduce the motion, provide an interpretation of the motion, and outline the major arguments for his or her side. This speech is the foundation for the whole entire debate. During the boxing debate, Chloe advances about five major arguments for her side.  Before doing this,  he offers an introduction and narrows the definition of  ‘boxing.’

? First Opposition Constructive (5 minutes): It is the  role of  this  speaker to both engage  arguments  from  the previous  speech and give new arguments  to advance the opposition case. It is critical that this speaker engages all information he or  she has on their  flow sheet. Brandon  specifically addresses  each argument brought up by  the proposition side. At the same time, Brandon advances unique arguments about the merit and safety of  boxing.

? Second Proposition Constructive (5 minutes): The nature of this speech resembles  the  first opposition constructive. This is the  last chance for  the proposition  to  introduce new arguments. First, this speaker should give a brief summary of  proposition  arguments  brought up  earlier  in  the  debate. Then, the  speaker should  engage  in line-by-line refutation. The speech should end with a relevant  conclusion that informs  the judge about the major issue of  the debate. Chaithra refutes Brandon’s opposition arguments and extends proposition arguments brought up during Chloe’s speech. She adds new examples  and analysis about death, crime,  and emulation of  boxing. She ends  the speech with new arguments about the brainwashing  effect of  boxing on children. She uses  the example of  Lionel Tate to prove her point.

? Second Opposition Constructive (5 minutes): This  is  the last chance for  the opposition to present new arguments. A second opposition speaker can continue line by line refutation, advance new arguments  to the case, add depth to previous arguments,  and engage in analysis about which arguments are important, inconsistent,  or unimportant to  the resolution of  the debate. Kevin presents a new argument  about the difference between boxing and wresting.  In the end, the focus of  his speech  is about  how making boxing an underground sport will create more problems than it solves.

? Opposition Rebuttal  (3 minutes): This speaker must identify a few  important issues and use these as  independent proofs about why the opposition should win. It is impossible to use all points brought up during  the debate. No new arguments  are allowed at this point in  the debate. The speaker  should take care that she or he does not simply  repeat what was  said in  the second opposition constructive speech. Valerie identifies about  five critical  issues  and  turns  them  into multiple  independent proofs  about  how the opposition  side won those  issues and  the debate.

? Proposition Rebuttal  (3 minutes): This  is the final speech in the debate. This speaker should answer arguments brought up  in both the second opposition constructive and the opposition rebuttal speeches. Using the critical issues of the debate, the speech should culminate  in a few independent proofs about why the proposition side has won the debate. Richard refutes the slew of  arguments presented in the final opposition stand. His argumentation culminates with the ongoing theme that was first presented in  the beginning of Chloe’s speech:  the barbarity and immorality of  boxing.