Jennifer Adams ParadigmLast changed 10/6 12:23A EST
First and foremost, I am looking for clear contentions and well argued impacts with a clear and obvious structure. While presentation is not the deciding factor, it does affect how persuasive your arguments ultimately are. That being said, whichever side that conveys the best evidence and best rebuts their opponents will win.
Still, as a judge, clarity is important. Competitors have a tendency to believe that if they speak more and very fast then their arguments will be better and they will win the debate. However, this might instead muddle your points and rationale and end up hurting your arguments. It must be stressed that clear arguments coupled with empirical evidence wins debates not shouting out as many sources, reasons, and data as possible.
Finally, understanding and properly refuting the other side's argument is pivotal. The debate should not just be which side has the most evidence, but also which side can best defend their evidence and arguments.