Skip to main content

English III Policy Debate: A Guide: Debate Prep

A research and debating guide for Mr. White's Junior English class

Important Debate Documents

Issue Briefing - To be completed by your team before our group issue briefing. The first step to help you organize your initial research and prepare a topic overview. Please make your own copy. 

Core Arguments Period 7 and Period 8A common class doc with all our topics and affirmative/negative arguments listed. This provides your team with full disclosure for all the augments that you should prep for. Please use appropriate copy for your class period. 

Evidence Card Template -  A template to organize your research into evidence cards. Complete one for each quotation you are using. When presented during a debate topic, your evidence should include a source, direct quotation, and your own analysis. Your evidence cards forms the foundation for your debate speeches.

Sample Evidence Cards - A sample aff and neg evidence card with quotations, source information and analysis. We recommend that you number your cards and keep them all within one doc for aff and one for neg. You may also print these and hand write them. 

Debate Schedule - A schedule of speeches, cross examinations, and prep time for a debate round. Also includes what to say in each speech and how to strategize your arguments. 

Debate Flow Sheet - Highly recommended, this is a basic note taking chart for the debate round. By taking notes on your opponents arguments, you can counter argue each of them, which helps you win debates. You will receive hard copies of these during your debate

Sample Speeches - A sample of a constructed speech for the aff and neg side. The first speeches are typically constructed and give an overview of the issue. Every other speech should be formulated based on what your opponent argues (although you can have some commons arguments and answers ready)

Debate Score Sheet - The score sheet that judges will be using to evaluate teams during debate rounds. You will receive hard copies of these during the debate rounds.

Debate 101


Use the following notes to remember basic debate terms that we will be using:

  • Claim: something the speaker claims to be true
  • Evidence: expert proof that supports your claim. In debate we call this “Cards” since debaters would write their evidence in large index cards.
  • Warrant: How the evidence proves your claim. This is the toughest part of debate since you have to analyze information and draw conclusions on your own. In debate we call this “analytics” since it’s your own ideas based on the data.


  • Claim: Parents should not allow children to play rated “M” (mature) games because it leads to violence
  • Evidence “card”: According to child psychologists, 78% of children who play rated M games have violent tendencies
  • Warrant or “analytics”: The majority of children who play M games are violent.. Therefore, children should not be allowed to play these games.


In debate there are always two sides. The affirmative agrees with the resolution or claim, the negative is against the resolution.

AFFIRMATIVE: Reasons why the resolution is the best option to solve the problem

  • Children can grow up to become criminals
  • Don’t know the difference between the game and reality
  • IMPACT ARG (argument that affects everyone) video games will lead to end of the world

NEGATIVE: Reasons why the resolution is a terrible idea

  • No link between video games and crime rate
  • Reality and game are different
  • Violence have existed for decades and the world hasn’t ended

What a Debate Round Looks Like

Debate Prep Checklist

Debate Round To-Do Checklist

Affirmative Opening Statement (1 min)

Purpose: First speech given during the debate - provides the basis for all arguments

  • Provide brief background information on AS
  • State the resolution
  • Explain how your plan (legalizing assisted suicide) solves the problem
  • Briefly state your central arguments

Negative Opening Statement (1 min)

Purpose: First response to the affirmative side - create the “conflict” in the debate

  • State the resolution
  • Explain the dangers of the opposite side and outweigh the benefits
  • Briefly state your central arguments

Evidence Cards

  • 6 affirmative cards
  • 6 negative cards

Before the debate...

  • Read through the cards and understand the context
  • Complete your analytical notes in your evidence cards (Box on the bottom right: What does the evidence mean? How does it connect to the argument?)
  • If you want to give yourself a competitive edge - using the evidence card template - create new cards with your own research