2021 — Parkersburg, WV/US
SPAR Debate Rules
SPAR (Spontaneous Argumentation) is a limited preparation debate event where students debate a different resolution or topic each round.
RESOLUTIONS/TOPICS: If the resolution is "RESOLVED: The Affordable Care Act should be repealed," the affirmative speaker argues in favor of repeal while the negative speaker argues against it. Similarly, if the topic is "Dogs vs. Cats," the affirmative speaker argues in favor of dogs and against cats, while the negative speaker argues in favor of cats and against dogs. (SPAR debate typically includes rounds of serious and non-so-serious topics.)
BURDEN OF PROOF: The Affirmative does not carry the burden of proof as in some debate events because the Affirmative does not both open and close the debate. The winner is the person who did the better debating.
REBUTTALS/SUMMARIES: Debaters should not raise new arguments in rebuttals or summaries. Debaters, however, may respond to their opponent's previously made arguments and expand on their own previously made arguments (e.g., by offering evidence to support or rebut a previously made argument or highlighting the importance of an argument).
JUDGING CRITERIA: Judges should decide the round as it is debated, not based on personal beliefs. The following are criteria judges should consider when judging SPAR debate: Understanding of topic, organization, arguments, evidence (facts, examples, statistics, etc.), rebuttal/counter-arguments/clash, and delivery.
RESOLUTIONS: The resolutions/topics will be provided to debaters in the SPAR debate prep room approximately thirty (30) minutes before the round is scheduled to start. The negative debater first strikes one (1) of the resolutions/topics, then the affirmative debater strikes the other one. The remaining resolution/topic is the one the debaters will debate. The tab room administrator verifies with the debaters the resolution/topic they have chosen and the sides they will be on before starting prep time.
INITIAL PREP TIME: Students will be given thirty (30) minutes prep time.
PURPOSE OF INITIAL PREP TIME: During prep time, students should brainstorm and prepare to present brief arguments for the debate. Students also may conduct online or other research during that time, as well. While evidence may be used, it is not the focal point of SPAR debate and students should not spend the majority of their time searching for evidence.
NO ASSISTANCE DURING PREP/DEBATE: Students may not receive assistance in any form from another person during prep time or during the debate.
ROUND START: At the end of prep time, the prep room administrator will excuse the debaters to go to their competition rooms. Once in their competition room, the debaters shall share the debate topic with the judge. The judge then will start the round.
ORDER OF DEBATE: The order of debate is as follows:
Affirmative constructive case (2 minutes): The debater supporting the resolution or advocating the first topic over a second one presents their case/position.
Cross examination (1 minute): The negative debater asks the affirmative debater questions.
Negative constructive case (2 minutes): The debater opposing the resolution or the advocating the second topic over a first one presents their case/position.
Cross examination (1 minute): The affirmative debater asks the negative debater questions.
Mandatory prep time (1 minute): Both debaters have one minute to prepare for rebuttal arguments.
Affirmative rebuttal (2 minutes): The affirmative debater refutes the negative debater's case and reinforces their own case.
Negative rebuttal (2 minutes): The negative debater refutes the affirmative debater's case reinforces their own case.
Mandatory prep time (1 minute): Both debaters have one minute to prepare for summary arguments.
Affirmative summary (2 minutes): The affirmative debater explains why the judge should vote in their favor.
Negative summary (2 minutes): The negative debater explains why the judge should vote in their favor.