Archive for the 'Team Resources' Category

How to research a disadvantage: Part four – Impact

In preparation for our January tournament, here’s a brief post a series of four posts on the basics of researching and debating a disadvantage.

Part one: Intro to disadvantages

Part two: Uniqueness research

Part three: Link research

Part four: Impact research

Finally, impacts.

Now that we’ve proven that we’re driving along a cliff now, and the affirmative will swerve us off that cliff, we have to do the part that seems most unnecessary: why is driving off a cliff bad?

Seriously, though, impact research can be really tough. Not only are you trying to find evidence to support arguments that are (sometimes) totally intuitive, you also want them to quantify how bad the problem is. How fast will we drive off the cliff, how deep is the chasm, and what else will be affected by the crash?

There’s a few ways to research impacts, and you should probably use a mixture of all of them. Key steps:

Continue reading ‘How to research a disadvantage: Part four – Impact’

How to research a disadvantage: Part three – Link

In preparation for our January tournament, here’s a brief post a series of four posts on the basics of researching and debating a disadvantage.

Part one: Intro to disadvantages

Part two: Uniqueness research

Part three: Link research

Part four: Impact research

Second, Links.

I think links are the easiest thing to research on a disadvantage. You usually know just what you’re looking for, and the evidence doesn’t change all that often. That being said, you have to know what you’re looking for and what your disadvantage needs.

To be a really good disad, you want link evidence to every possible affirmative. Given that this isn’t possible, you usually want to research a couple specific links and one good general one. For our example, I’ll try to find specific evidence against 1) ballistic missile defense, 2) solar power satellites, and 3) a general link.

Continue reading ‘How to research a disadvantage: Part three – Link’

How to research a disadvantage: Part two – Uniqueness

In preparation for our January tournament, here’s a brief post a series of four posts on the basics of researching and debating a disadvantage.

Part one: Intro to disadvantages

Part two: Uniqueness research

Part three: Link research

Part four: Impact research

First, uniqueness:

For a spending disadvantage, we’ll need to find an argument that the government is controlled in its spending now. Not easily done, if you’ve been reading the news lately. Good uniqueness research takes a bit of craftmanship and lots of searching for the right words.

Google is an indispensable research tool, but you have to learn to use it right. If we just google “spending uniqueness” or “spending is low” you will come up with no relevant hits. For uniqueness, I usually like to start by looking on Google News. Click on “News” on the top bar of Google.com and you’ll be able to search recent articles from all over the world. Beware of non-reputable news sources; Google news also usually displays articles from blogs and regional newspapers that might be of no help to you.

Continue reading ‘How to research a disadvantage: Part two – Uniqueness’

How to research a disadvantage – Part one: intro to DAs

In preparation for our January tournament, here’s a brief post a series of four posts on the basics of researching and debating a disadvantage.

Part one: Intro to disadvantages

Part two: Uniqueness research

Part three: Link research

Part four: Impact research

Intro to disadvantages:

Disadvantages (or disads, or DAs) are a negative’s bread and butter. They are the most common type of negative argument, and before you get too far into your debate career, you probably ought to have a couple in your arsenal that you know backward and forward, almost like your affirmative.

Today we are going to discuss a specific brand of disadvantage: a generic disadvantage. These types of disadvantages, as the name implies, have a wide applicability, in order to cut down on the uncertainty of the affirmative’s plan. More specific disadvantages are often preferable, but it’s best to learn from a general standpoint to get the basics down. Today, we’ll be discussing these issues from an example called a “Spending Disadvantage” the general thesis of which is that the affirmative plan spends so much money that it will tank the economy.

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How to research an affirmative case

Researching your own aff is an incredibly fun part of debate, but if you don’t know what to look for, it can also be very time consuming and difficult. With ODEF’s easy guide to researching an affirmative case, you can limit your frustration and maximize your time spent creating winning arguments!

First, find out what topical cases interest you!

Limit your possible topics to a list of things that interest you. They can be from your own imagination, from articles you’ve read, or things you’ve learned about in class. You want to make sure

1) they’re defensible- think about what your opponents would say. Does your idea fit under the topic? Is it totally unfeasible in the near future? Does it cause problems that you don’t want to have to argue about?

2) it’s interesting and has lots of literature about it. If you get bored reading one article about your case, that’s not a good sign. If you can only find one crazy ranting blog post that supports your idea, also not a feasible topic.

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How to start a team – coaches

In a new page, our directors discuss how teachers, parents, or other potential coaches can start a debate team at your school. Be on the lookout for more “checklist” posts for students and fundraising!

CHECKLIST FOR COACHES STARTING A NEW TEAM

1. Contact ODEF. Write us an email that says you’re interested. We can put you in contact with helpful mentors, interested community members and other useful people that will prevent you from making the same mistakes others have. We can discuss specific strategies and considerations for your school, coordinate schedules, and solve other major headaches before they arise.

2. Find interested students. You may think this is putting the cart before the horse, but every step afterward will be easier if you have the inertia to overcome bureaucracy that comes from having actual warm bodies on your team. There’s a couple ways to do this.

Giving a talk in a class or explaining the benefits of debate to as many students as possible. You can read our site here for some talking points. Here are a few that I’ve discovered that can really resonate with high schoolers. High School students are anxious – more anxious than ever – about college. Make sure to explain how debate can help you get into college, get scholarships for college, and give you skills to prepare for college. Additionally, do some work to overcome the myths about debate that deter lots of people: 1. it’s nerdy. 2. I’m shy so I have nothing to contribute. 3. I’m bad with words so there’s no way I can compete, etc, etc. If you’ve done debate, tell the story of your experiences.

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Debate Team Resources

Students hungry for debate knowledge need all the help they can get. Here’s a first look at some important debate resources that help established teams reach their goals and new teams teach themselves the ropes. We’ll be adding to this list as the site develops, and you can look through our whole list on our Keep a Team Going! page.

General Resources

Debate Central – a fabulous website for lots of purposes. Includes information on topics, research help, and lots of good advice about running a debate team. Don’t miss the Ask the Experts feature, which allows you to ask coaches about strategy and making your team work.

National Debate Coaches Association – the NDCA provides coaching and teaching resources that can help new teachers plan their debate curriculum or young students explore debate on their own. In addition to major news in the debate community, this site is the host of the Open Evidence Project, explained in detail below and the NDCA Caselist, where you can find citations for much of the evidence teams are using on this topic.

3NR – a collaborative blog with very interesting debate discussions and articles.

Research

The Open Evidence Project – this site represents a fundamental change in the way that evidence is shared that significantly lowers the barriers to young teams that want to compete in policy debate. Here, many summer camps provide all the evidence produced – thousands of pages – totally free and available for download.

League Information

NAUDL – the National Association of Urban Debate Leagues supports debate teams in urban schools all over the country.

National Federation of State High School Associations– The NFHS is responsible for determining the policy debate topic for the year and publishes other resources that help coaches and students, including novice case areas, which are adopted by some states (including Oregon).

National Forensics League – the “other NFL” hosts a national tournament at the end of the year. Find here league and coach information, and a monthly publication, Rostrum, with articles about Forensics competition and coaching.

Tournament registration websites – between forensicstournament.net and Debate Results you should be able to find invitation and registration information for most policy tournaments in the area.

Summer Camp

Summer debate camps have been an institution of high school debate for decades. Students that attend camp usually become leaders and teachers on their high school teams, as debate is such a fast-changing game. Here’s West Coast Publishing’s list of summer debate camps.

Not sure what summer camp is all about? Don’t know which one is right for you? Contact us and we’ll answer all your questions.

Debate Forums

Cross-x.com – the main site for discussions on high school CX debate.