DEBATE: 4 types: Lincoln Douglas (LD), Parliamentary (Parli), Public Forum (Pu Fo) and Policy

LD: Lincoln-Douglas debate is one-on-one debate (you work alone).  There is an affirmative speaker and a negative speaker. All contestants debate the same national topic, which changes each semester.  Unlike other types of debate, LD is value debate.  It is the most philosophical of all the debate categories.  Thus, rather than debating the pros and cons of a proposed policy, students focus on the merits of the values implied in the resolution. Judging is based on effective presentation, taking into account direct clash of issues, organization, logic, analysis, evidence, sportsmanship, and persuasiveness.  LD debaters prepare both sides of the resolution, the affirmative and the negative, and can expect to debate both sides at every tournament in alternating rounds.

Parli: Parliamentary Debate is an exciting two-partner/two-team competitive debate on a different topic each round. Each team is given a topic 20 minutes before the round begins. Published information may be consulted during prep time.  But except for handwritten notes made during prep time, no materials may be brought into the debate round.  Then, without the aid of prepared “briefs,”teams must argue for or against the resolution, relying on persuasive delivery and strong analytical arguments to win.

Public Forum (aka “Po Fo”): A great choice for beginning debaters. Two 2-person teams debate each other on a national topic which changes every month focusing on a current event.  Research and prepared speeches are allowed and you can expect to work very closely with your partner both before and during the debate round.  Teams will debate both sides of the resolution at every tournament.

Policy (Team Debate): This highly structured policy debate is two-person team debate in which one team, the affirmative, supports a resolution and the other, the negative, opposes it.  All contestants debate the same national topic all year, but teams will have varied cases under the topic.  Because this style of debate is “policy” oriented, the affirmative team has the burden of offering and defending a specific plan for change.  The negative team has the burden of showing that there is no need for a change, that the affirmative’s proposal would not work or that the proposal would be disadvantageous.  Judging is based on effective presentation taking into account direct clash of issues, organization, logic, analysis, evidence, sportsmanship, and persuasiveness.


Note: Debate is a serious activity and can become expensive.  Debaters often purchase evidence,

files, legal pads, briefcases, laptops, and many enroll in debate camps over the summer.