The Structure of Competetive Debate


For some time, I have been a member of the Cambridge Union Society, the oldest student debating society in the world. In addition to serving the Union as a returning officer and general volunteer over the years, I also have played a small role as a debate judge in intervarsity and schools competitions. I also

As part of an experiment in rhetoric and competetive debate, I did a design projects mapping out the rhetoric of competetive debate.

The aim was to develop:

  • A notation which could improve the quality and speed of scoring English Union style debate
  • An instructional aid for debaters to describe, share, and discuss possible debate approaches to well-known motions
  • A Fill-In-The-Blank form with which students could test their arguments
  • A means for organising debate portfolio research

Here is a screenshot from one of the details:

Detail: A good Rebuttal