Justin Harbour ParadigmLast changed 2/10 9:55A EDT
I have been judging and coaching Lincoln Douglas debate for 2 years. As an academic, I have researched judging philosophies. Based on what I’ve learned and my interpretation of the unique aspects of Lincoln Douglas debate, the following describes my judging paradigm.
Lincoln Douglas debate is a clash of values. The value represents a means to a world “as it should be.” Thus, the debater that upholds their value best will likely win the round. Here are some specific points that I believe are important:
- Analysis – The debater will clearly present a logical argument and also effectively refute the opponent’s case.
- Proof – There should be a sufficient quantity and quality of evidence to support the case. More evidence is not always better. The contentions should also link back to the value.
- Organization - There should be a logical and orderly presentation throughout the round.
- Refutation/ Clash – The better debater will demonstrate the ability to critically analyze the opponent’s arguments and develop clear and logical responses with effective use of evidence and examples.
- Delivery – The speech must be understandable, interesting, and persuasive. An LD debater should demonstrate effective oral communication skills including effective reading; clear and understandable delivery; persuasive vocal argumentation; presence; and eye contact. “Spreading” during rounds is discouraged for this reason – in opposition to overwhelming your opponent with speed that renders you unintelligible, a superior ability to identify and present the best arguments concisely is a much better representation of analytical acumen and the intent of LD debate.
Good luck to all competitors. I look forward to observing, critiquing, and judging your rounds.