Debate Briefing

Debate Briefing
Basic Structure
• In THSDC, we use the Asian Parliamentary
Format, “Asian” for short.
• 2 teams
• 3 members per team
• 7 minutes speech
• 30 minutes preparation time, with the
Government team preparing in the room
• Voting-based decision
Room Setup
Speakers (Gov.)
Speakers (Opp)
Order of Speech
Speech Timing
4 4.20
7 7.20
Some Rules To Remember
• No use of electronic devices (e.g. phones,
laptops) is allowed. Talking dictionary is
acceptable, however do not connect to the
• Printed materials (print-outs of news article,
matter file) is allowed during the preparation
time, but not during the speech. (i.e. it cannot
be brought up to the podium)
Some Rules To Remember (2)
• Debaters are on their own during preparation.
– Teachers/coaches/trainers: please refrain from
talking to your students. (aside from “Good luck!”)
– Debaters: please talk only among your own team.
DO NOT talk to other teams from your school.
– If you have any question regarding the motions,
please ask the Adjudication Core on the stage. We
are here to help.
• In each round, there is a Theme. Under a
Theme, there are 3 Motions.
• Obviously you will debate only 1 motion. The
method of selecting that motion is called
• You will rank each motions from 1 to 3. 1
being most preferred, and 3 being least
preferred. What you ranked 3 will NOT BE
Vetoing (2)
Gov. Ranking
Opp. Ranking
Motion A
Motion B
Motion C
• This is the most problematic veto. (in other cases,
just eliminate anything with 3, and debate what is
• Motion A will not be debated, but both teams
disagrees with the “1 motion” – in this case they
will do a coin toss, and the room will debate the
motion that the winner chose.
• POIs stand for Point of Information
• A question/statement directed at a speaker
during his/her speech by the opposing team.
• No longer than 15 seconds per POI
• The speaker has the right to accept/decline
the POI, though it is highly encouraged to
accept at least 1 POI per speech.
POIs (2)
• A motion is a clearly worded statement that
announces the topic/issue to be debated.
• Some abbreviations
– THW = This House Would
– THBT = This House Believes That
– THS = This House Supports
– THR = This House Regrets
Motion (2)
• Different types of motion implies certain types
of “burden” to each teams
– THW – implies that some kind of action needs to
be taken
– THBT – implies that certain value/principle is
worth believing in
– THS/THR – implies that existence of something is
worth supporting/regrettable
• Specifically, definition of the motion. “A definition
should specify the meanings of words in a motion
in a way that accords with a common-sense
reading of the motion.” (EUDC 2013 Adj. Core)
• It is not a literal translation of those words, but
what exactly those things are.
– For example, on the motion “THW give lower
punishments for crimes motivated by economic
reasons,” a definition should clarify “crimes” to be
theft, robbery, and economic reasons to be feeding
hungry family.
Definition (2)
• Unfair Definitions have one of these
– Truism – something considered to be universally true
– Tautology – something that is not considered to be
true now, but will in the near future
– Squirrel – a set of definition that has some logical link,
but wholly unconnected to the spirit of the motion
– Time/Place-set – unreasonably specifying the motion
into a certain timeframe or location.
* “Scoping the debate to …” is fine if it is a reasonable scope.
Definition (3)
• In the event that you face an unfair definition,
you can challenge it.
– Who: ONLY the Leader of Opposition
– How: Explicitly state that “we would like to
challenge the definition,” and state justifications
for challenging it.
– What then: the LO need to REDEFINE the motion
to what it should be, and provide your team’s
arguments for the debate under that motion.
Definition (4)
• After that, the LO (and the Opp.) still need to
provide an “even if-case,” i.e. give
arguments/rebuttals under the other definition.
– Opp. does not need to this if the Gov. definition is
• Then the Deputy Prime Minister will either accept
or reject the new definition.
– Accept: continue debating under the Opp. Definition
– Reject: DEFEND your definition, further the case, and
provide even if-case.
Definition (5)
• Lastly, keep in mind that definition is a goodfaith attempt to create a debate (EUDC 2013
Adj. Core), not a strategic loophole to exploit.
• In general, debating communities ABHOR
unfair definition and the definitional challenge
that happens afterwards. Please do your best
to avoid it from happening in the tournament.
Thank you!
Speaker Role
• Speaker Role is NOT a set of regulations that a
speaker must follow. It is, however, a very
effective method of structuring your speech.
• There is no automatic penalty for not “giving a
model” or “not giving a split.” The adjudicator
will always still look at the reasoning of your
Speaker Rold (2)
• There are a number of RULES though.
– Who speaks when
– Speech time limit
• 7 – 7.30 for substantives
• 4 – 4.30 for replies
• 15 seconds for POIs
– What is fair/unfair definitions
– Only the 1st Speakers from each team can provide
the model/counter-model
– No new arguments in Whips and Replies
Speaker Role (3)
• Prime Minister (PM)
– Set-up
• Explain context/background of the debate, or a problem that
needs to be solved
• Provide team stance
• Provide definition
– Model/Proposal/Mechanism (if necessary)
• Model is what you are going to do to solve the problem
• Most likely needed in a “THW” motions
– Split
• Briefly stating what the 1st and 2nd speakers’ arguments are
– Arguments
• Arguments are any logical reasoning/justification to support your
team. Could be principle reasons, practical benefits.
• They need to be analyzed and elaborated – not just giving some
one-liner and statistics.
Speaker Role (4)
• Leader of Opposition (LO)
– Set-up
• Do you accept/reject the definition?
• Provide team stance
– Rebuttals
• Attacks toward the PM’s model, arguments
– Counter-model (if necessary)
• An alternative way to solve the problem PM stated, or
simply supporting the status quo
– Split
– Arguments
Speaker Role (5)
• Deputy Prime Minister (DPM)
– Provide team stance
– Rebuttals
• Attacks towards LO’s arguments, counter-model
• Perhaps defending PM’s arguments as well (i.e.
rebutting LO’s rebuttals)
– Arguments
• Should be new arguments, different from PM
Speaker Role (6)
• Deputy Leader of Opposition (DLO)
– Provide team stance
– Rebuttals
– Arguments
Speaker Role (7)
• Government/Opposition Whip (GW/OW)
– Rebuttals (if necessary)
– Clash point analysis
• Summarizing the main issues that were debated in the
debate, issue-by-issue, and prove why their respective
teams have won those issues.
– E.g. first clash point is “Who better protects human rights”,
second clash point is “Who creates better economic benefits”.
• There are many ways to do clash point analysis, but
mostly they are further analysis that either attacks the
opposing team, or defends their own team on those
– Whips CANNOT provide new arguments!
Speaker Role (8)
• Government/Opposition Reply (GR/OR)
– Done by the 1st or 2nd speaker of each teams.
– Cannot provide new arguments
– There is no established way to do a reply speech,
generally it is the team’s last chance to persuade
the adjudicator.
• Summary of the debate in a more broader view
• The main questions of the debate that were answered
by their respective team
• Role fulfillment/technicality attacks
Adjudicator Feedback
• After you are done with the round, you will
briefly leave the room, wait for the
adjudicator to make decision. Socializing
time. 
• The adjudicator will call you back, tell you the
result, and justify why. Your job as a debater
is to assess the quality of the adjudicator.
Adjudicator Feedback (2)
• You will then grade the adjudicator, based on this scale:
– 5 = Excellent adjudicator. He/she should be adjudicating
the Grand Final
– 4 = Above average adjudicator. He/she will definitely
break. He/she is definitely a chair.
– 3 = Average adjudicator. He/she might break, and could be
a chair.
– 2 = Acceptable adjudicator. He/she at least understands
the basics of Asian-style debate. He/she should be a
panelist, or even a trainee.
– 1 = Inexperienced adjudicator. For whatever reason,
he/she should be a trainee.
Adjudicator Feedback (3)
• Please be fair/critical when assessing the adjudicator.
– DO NOT give them a 5 because they gave you a win, or a 1
because they gave you a lost.
• Assess adjudicator based on the feedback they give.
– If they show understanding of the issues debated, and
justifies the decision based on the arguments presented in
the debate (not their personal opinion on the issue), then
they are a decent adjudicator.
– If they only comment on language use, technicalities, role
fulfillment, without mentioning the issues, then they are
probably bad adjudicators.
– Just because their English is not fluent, it does not mean
they are bad. Likewise, good English =/= good adjudicator.
Q & A Session
Thank you for your attention!

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