Public Forum

How to Write a Public Forum Debate Case

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Public Forum Debate Case Template

Download Case Template in Word format.

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[Introduction or Hook] ______________________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

We [Affirm/Negate] the resolution   ___________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

We would like to present the following definitions:

  1. __________ is defined by __________________  to mean _____________________________________________________
  2. __________ is defined by __________________  to mean _____________________________________________________

The Framework for this round should be _________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

The reason this is the best Framework for the round is _______________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

We would also like to present the following observations:

  1. Observation 1 ____________________________________________________________
  2. Observation 2 ____________________________________________________________

 

Contention 1. [Title] _____________________________________________________________

Our argument is [Claim] _________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

The evidence to support this is [Warrant] ____________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

This matters because [Impact] ____________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

 

Contention 2. [Title] _____________________________________________________________

Our argument is [Claim] _________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

The evidence to support this is [Warrant] ____________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

This matters because [Impact] ____________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

 

Contention 3. [Title] _____________________________________________________________

Our argument is [Claim] _________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

The evidence to support this is [Warrant] ____________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

This matters because [Impact] ____________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

 

We have presented 3 strong arguments which were ____________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Please vote in [Affirmation/Negation] to the resolution.

 

How to Write a Public Forum Debate Case Transcript:

Welcome to Debate Clash, we’re dedicated to providing forensics resources to every student that needs them. If you want to learn, you should have the ability to.

[How to write a Public Forum Debate Case]

In this video we’ll be going over the basic structure of a Public Forum debate case. I will also post a Public Forum Case Template that you can find below. The first section of a debate case is the….

  • Introduction
    • Just like with most essays the first sentence is supposed to be the hook or the attention grabber. The same rules apply for debate cases. Some people use quotes for their introduction, others use a very brief story. Essentially anything that grabs the attention of the audience can be used as the introduction.
    • The introduction is completely optional. If you get a judge that has previous debate experience most of the time they will want you to skip the intro and go right into the next section, however if you get a less experienced judge, they may find an introduction to be quite persuasive. If you have questions about whether to include this or not, ask your coach.
  • Resolution and Stance
    • In this portion you simply want to clarify for the judge exactly what you’re debating and what side you’re taking.
    • Usually debaters simply say, “we Affirm or Negative the resolution resolved…” And then they read the resolution. You will notice that nearly every debater does this the exact same way.
  • Definitions
    • This is the section where you will define certain words in the resolution.
    • Generally people say, “This word” defined by “Insert Source” means this.
    • Some teams prefer to define nearly every word in the resolution, some prefer to define nothing. I tell students that there are 3 instances where definitions are necessary.
      1. To clarify if you think the judge doesn’t know what a particular word or phrase means.
      2. When you suspect there will be a conflict or large debate around a certain word or phrase. For example if the resolution said, “China is a bigger threat to the United States than Russia.” I may want to define what a threat is because that will likely be a large portion of the debate.
      3. When you want to utilize a definition to swing the resolution in your favor. Using the last example, I might find a definition that creates “bigger threat” to mean more destructive weapons. And then later in my case I could say, “Russia has a lot more nukes than China does, therefore they are the bigger threat.” By defining bigger threat, I gave myself an advantage.
  • Framework
    • The framework tells the judge how the winner of the round should be decided.
      1. You might say, “If the costs outweigh the benefits you should vote negative or visa versa.” This is one of the most common frameworks.
      2. Utilizing our previous example you might say, “if we as the negative can prove that Russia has more destructive weapons than China you should vote negative.”
    • The second portion of the framework is telling the judge why this is the best way to determine the winner.
      1. For the costs and benefits example we might say, “This is the best way to measure the round because it gives neither side an advantage, so it’s the most fair. It’s also common for resolutions to start with the phrase, “On balance.” We could say the resolution states, “On Balance, implying that we should weigh on balance the costs and the benefits.”
      2. For the second example we might say, “This framework should be preferred since bigger threat is defined as having more destructive weapons and the resolution is asking us which country is the bigger threat.”
  • Observations
    • Observations are once again an optional part of your case.
    • They are either important things you want the judge to remember or assumptions that you make utilizing the resolution. These are also numbered to maximize organization.
    • For example, if the resolution was, “Standardized testing is beneficial to education within the United States.” I could create an observation that said, “Observation 1. The resolution specifies, “In the United States.” Therefore any arguments talking about other countries should be disregarded.”
    • It’s important to keep in mind that if you’re running observations they should be helping your case and making it stronger instead of just taking up unnecessary time.
  • Contentions
    • These are your arguments, reason to vote for you. I recommend having anywhere from 2-4 main contentions. This provides enough time for each point to be established at the same time as having enough arguments that if one goes down you still have more that you can rely on.
    • Now, there are several different formats for contentions that you can use, but for the purpose of this introductory video I’m going to teach you the most prominent format known as claim, warrant, impact.
    • Under this format a contention contains 4 traits.
      1. The first is the Title. This is the label for your argument. I might say, “Contention 1: Russia has a lot of weapons.” You simply need the number of the contention along with a brief sentence describing the argument to come.
      2. The second part of your contention is the claim. A claim is simply a statement that you believe to be true. For this contention I might say, “Russia has thousands of nuclear warheads.” Now that statement doesn’t mean much until I bring the third part of the argument, the warrant.
      3. The warrant is the reason your claim is true. This could be evidence or in certain instances very logical analysis. For our example I might sight the Arms Control Association in October 2015 that states that Russia has 7,700 nuclear warheads whereas China only has 260. My warrant is the Arms Control Association.
      4. The impact is the reason your argument matters. It tells the judge
  • Conclusion
    • In the conclusion you would reiterate your points and then if you had an introductions it’s always good to tie that into your conclusion.
    • For example, “We have presented 3 strong arguments which were x, y, and z. If you agree with Stephen Hawking’s quote and the contentions we provided, please vote Affirmative or Negative.
    • The conclusion is also very optional.
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