Types of Debate - A Complete Overview & Examples
Debates provide various positive benefits for the students. It increases the opportunity for listening and speaking in the classroom. Therefore, debate writing requires proper structure to support and present the claim.
Similarly, there are different types of debates used at the high school or college level. Each type has two sides, along with its format. However, the main aim is to engage and persuade the audience.
Most students are not good at writing debates because they are often unfamiliar with the major types. If you are one of them, read this detailed guide to get an idea about the forms of debating and examples.
What is the Debate?
A debate is a formal and organized argument where the participants discuss a subject from two opposing sides. Each topic has two sides. Those who agree with the idea are on the "Pro" side. However, those who disagree are on the "Con" side.
Each side presents the argument clearly to engage the audience. For this, relevant examples and evidence are used to support the claim.
The primary purpose of a debate is to convince the audience that your viewpoint is right. Moreover, a mediator decides the winner during formal debate tournaments. Nevertheless, the informal debate continues until the time when any one of the debate team gives up.
On the other hand, a writer needs to follow the proper format and structure for writing a debate. Remember, a well-written debate will leave a long-lasting impression on the audience.
Types of Debate
Below are the types of debates that are popular and will help you to get started.
- Team Policy Debate
- Eight speeches
- Four constructive speeches
- Four rebuttals
- Four periods of cross-examination
- Cross-Examination Debate
- Lincoln-Douglas Debate
- Spontaneous Argumentation
- Public Forum Debate
- Parliamentary Debate
- Two teams, each with two debaters
- Six speeches
- Four constructive speeches
- Two rebuttal speeches
Team policy debates consist of two teams, each with two debaters. Here, the structure includes the following elements.
The primary objective of team policy debate is to present a huge amount of evidence quickly and coherently. Moreover, these are most commonly used in middle school or high school debates.
Below given is the basic format of a team policy debate.
|First Affirmative Constructive||8 minutes|
|Cross-Examination of the 1st affirmative||3 minutes|
|First Negative Constructive||8 minutes|
|Cross-examination of the 1st negative||3 minutes|
|Second Affirmative Constructive||8 minutes|
|Cross-Examination of the 2nd affirmative||3 minutes|
|Second Negative Constructive||8 minutes|
|Cross-Examination of the 2nd negative||3 minutes|
|First Negative Rebuttal||15 minutes|
|First Affirmative Rebuttal||5 minutes|
|Second Negative Rebuttal||15 minutes|
|Second Affirmative Rebuttal||5 minutes|
Check out the example for a better understanding.
Team Policy Debate Example
Cross-examination is a new type of two-on-two college debate. It is mainly defined as a period between speeches. Here, the opponent debaters ask questions to clarify and understand each other’s points of information.
It consists of resolutions that are not related to policy. Similarly, this kind of debate is based on values where evidence can be presented.
Moreover, a cross-examination debate provides you with an opportunity to engage with your opponent. It further demonstrates your confidence to become a persuasive speaker that helps you win more points.
Here is a detailed format structure of the cross-examination debate.
|1st Affirmative Constructive||8 minutes|
|Cross-examination by 2nd Negative||3 minutes|
|1st Negative Constructive||8 minutes|
|Cross-examination by 1st Affirmative||3 minutes|
|2nd Affirmative Constructive||8 minutes|
|Cross-examination by 1st Negative||3 minutes|
|2nd Negative Constructive||8 minutes|
|Cross-examination by 2nd Affirmative||3 minutes|
|1st Negative Rebuttal||5 minutes|
|1st Affirmative Rebuttal||5 minutes|
|2nd Negative Rebuttal||5 minutes|
|2nd Affirmative Rebuttal||5 minutes|
Refer to the below example of the cross-examination debate.
Cross-Examination Debate Example
Lincoln-Douglas is an open style of debate. It is mainly inspired by the debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas in the 1850s.
Moreover, this is a one-on-one debate that focuses on arguing for or against a topic. Here, the participants agree on the time limits and topics beforehand.
For example, in the United States presidential debates, one debate is entirely focused on domestic policy. At the same time, the other one is devoted to foreign policy.
You can also check out our blog to get interesting debate topics.
The main purpose of the Lincoln-Douglas debates is to speak persuasively, clearly, and logically. Similarly, it is very structured in nature and allows people to express their viewpoints openly.
A typical format of the Lincoln-Douglas debate is as follows.
|Speaker A: Making the case||6 minutes|
|Speaker B: Cross-examination of speaker A||3 minutes|
|Speaker B: First rebuttal||7 minutes|
|Speaker A: Cross-examination of speaker B||3 minutes|
|Speaker A: First rebuttal||4 minutes|
|Speaker B: Final rebuttal||5 minutes|
|Speaker A: Closing rebuttal||5 minutes|
Have a look at the below example to get a better idea.
Lincoln-Douglas Debate Example
Spontaneous argumentation includes two debaters that argue on a particular topic. Firstly, they take enough prep time for a debate topic and then present the argument.
These types of debate essays are often used in college and university classrooms. Moreover, it also helps in decreasing the anxiety of a speaker by building confidence.
However, it does not require detailed research work. Thus, the writer focuses more on presentation and style rather than the content.
The spontaneous argumentation debate format is given below.
|Affirmative Case||3 minutes|
|Cross-Examination of the Affirmative||1.5 minutes|
|Negative Case||3 minutes|
|Cross-Examination of the Negative||1.5 minutes|
|Negative Counter-Arguments||2 minutes|
|Affirmative Counter-Arguments||2 minutes|
|Negative Closing Statement||2 minutes|
|Affirmative Closing Statement||2 minutes|
Refer to the document for a detailed example.
Spontaneous Argumentation Example
Public forum debate is considered as audience friendly and a current events debate. It includes two teams of debaters that argue on monthly controversial topics.
The round begins with a coin toss between the competing debate teams. It is required to determine which side, either Pro or Con, will present their argument first. Each debate team will be given 3 minutes to prepare the topic.
Furthermore, it consists of eight speeches and three crossfires but each with a time limit. The winner is further decided by a judge who serves as a referee.
Lastly, this type of debate is used to test the students’ argumentation, cross-examination, and refutation skills.
The following is a format structure of public forum debate.
|Speaker 1 – Constructive Speech (Pro or Con)||4 minutes|
|Speaker 2 – Constructive Speech (Pro or Con)||4 minutes|
|Speaker 3 – Rebuttal Speech (Pro or Con)||4 minutes|
|Speaker 4 — Rebuttal Speech (Pro or Con)||4 minutes|
|Speaker 1 –- Summary||2 minutes|
|Speaker 2 – Summary||2 minutes|
|Grand cross-fire||3 minutes|
|Speaker 3 –- Final Focus||2 minutes|
|Speaker 4 – Final Focus||2 minutes|
Check out the below example of a public forum debate.
Public Forum Debate Example
Similar to the spontaneous types of debate arguments, parliamentary debates do not require thorough research. The resolutions are decided only 10 minutes before a round of debate starts. Similarly, it greatly emphasized logic and persuasiveness.
They are referred to as “parliamentary” because of their similar nature to the debates that occur in the British parliament. Thus, such types of debates are mainly used in parliaments and assemblies.
Moreover, it consists of the following elements.
The format structure of the parliamentary debate is as follows.
|First proposition constructive speech||7 minutes|
|First opposition constructive speech||8 minutes|
|Second proposition constructive speech||8 minutes|
|Second opposition constructive speech||8 minutes|
|Opposition rebuttal||4 minutes|
|Proposition rebuttal||5 minutes|
Here is a detailed example to get a better understanding.
Parliamentary Debate Example
Types of Debates Examples
Check out the document for some more types of debate examples.
Types of Debate - Sample
Choosing the correct debate type is indeed confusing for most students. But the above guide will help you identify the right one for writing your debate.
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