Before you organize or participate in a debate, it is important for you to have all your essentials clear. When you look up the word in a dictionary, you will notice that it is defined as either a formal discussion; a consideration of issues or a formal presentation of contrasting ideologies.
Ask a common man, and more often than not, he will describe it as an ‘argument’. In whatever way you look at a debate, the key take away is that it is set in an environment that follows a formal process.
This means that whether you are arguing over a social issue in a public forum or participating in a high school event, this interaction consists of more than just putting on your best formal suit. You are expected to follow a few traditions and rules.
In this form of interaction, there are always two sides. One is known as the Government or Affirmative while the other is known as the Opposition or Negative.
Each session revolves around a particular subject commonly known as a bill or resolution. The primary task of this interaction is to resolve a particular subject.
As the name suggests, the Affirmative endorses the resolution and the goal of the Negative is to disagree with the Affirmative.
Typically, the role of the Affirmative is harder because they are given fewer opportunities to win. All the Affirmative needs to focus on, is to prove that the resolution in question is true.
On the other hand, it is the job of the Negative to try and win by taking an offensive approach, or attacking the issue or focusing on the logic, evidence, and definitions brought up by the Affirmative.
It is wrong to assume that the Negative is prone to any attacks in this aspect, but typically, it is harder for the Affirmative to employ the same offensive strategy. This is one of the reasons why the Affirmative speaks first as well as last in any debate.
Essentially, the nature of these interactions exist in three forms –
A Proposition of Fact – This is the least common objective of this interaction since a proposition of this nature can only take place if the evidence at hand is ambiguous leaving room for argument.
A Proposition of Value – This form of interaction typically tends to be a matter of opinion. For example, ‘Be it that Moral Policing is more important now than ever’.
A Proposition of Policy - In this form of interaction, a particular course of action is proposed. ‘Be it resolved that the legal age for drinking be lowered’.
Depending on the objectives of your institution, you can make effective use of debates to arrive at functional solutions.
Halabol is an online platform which aims at bringing likeminded people together and making an impact collectively. At Halabol.com one can participate in several activities like starting a petition online,
participating in a debate or start online debates related to any particular social issue to create awareness among people.
Decoding Debates – Why have them?