The Burdens of a Debate - Warwick Debating Society

The Burdens of a Debate
What to prove and how do
I do it
What is a burden?
• A burden is one of the things you need to
prove for your side of the motion to be true
• It is NOT a specific argument – burdens are
proved by them
• Prop and Opp will have different burdens –
Prop will often have to prove all these things,
Opp may only need 1 or a couple
• It is still a good idea on Opp to hit as many
burdens as possible
Why are burdens important
• That you prove all the things you set out to prove in
your speech does not mean you will win
• You will often be told another team beat you for
fulfilling their “burdens” better
• Teams will sometimes try to tell the judge what your
burdens are, they often lie about this
• Thinking about burdens in prep time keeps you
relevant to the debate
• List them during prep on your page and build
arguments around proving them
Example: THW reintroduce
corporal punishment to schools
Prop burdens:
• Chosen educational outcome(s) (academic results, life skills) are
• Corporal punishment is more effective than current methods of
punishment at furthering that/those outcome(s)
• The violence will seldom if ever be excessive (potential for abuse is nonexistent or low)
• Hitting children is a justifiable way of instructing
Not Prop burdens:
• Bad class control leads to bad outcomes in education
• Bad educational outcomes lead to bad life prospects
• Teachers want this power
Example: THW reintroduce
corporal punishment to schools
Opp burdens:
• Hitting children is never justified
• Hitting children leads to poor educational outcomes
• The system will be so open to abuse that good outcomes are
outweighed by abusive ones
Not Opp burdens:
• Most teachers will not use this
• Parents will disagree with it

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