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English III Policy Debate: A Guide: Research and Arguments

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.

Cutting Evidence Cards

Evidence will make up a large component of your constructed speeches - along with your analysis of the evidence and how it connects to the resolution. The more evidence you have, the more competitive you become. If you only use the sample files, your opponent will have the same arguments as you do - and will know in advance how to argue against you. Keep in mind that all your evidence must be collected BEFORE the debate. Looking for information during a debate is considered unethical and will disqualify your team.

Cutting Cards

During the debate round, you will only have a couple of minutes to prep. Therefore, before you begin the debate, you should have all the evidence cards organized and should know which ones support what arguments. In order to make debating easier - we “cut cards” or only use the information from our source that applies to an argument.


“New school” Card Cutting

Use the Google docs evidence card template to copy and paste your evidence. Make sure to follow directions so that you include all the information. When using these files - please make a copy of the doc - otherwise you are sharing your evidence with your opponents :(


All Evidence cards should include:


  • A “Tag”: What argument is the evidence supporting? This is very brief - usually a sentence

  • Source: Who is the author? What are their credentials? Where was it published? When was it published?

  • The direct quotation: Only include the evidence that you would need to support the argument within your tag. Just copy and paste it from the article.

  • Your analytics: What does the evidence mean? How does it connect to your argument? Here you write the information in your own words - remember in order to explain it you need to understand the evidence

Cutting Your Own Evidence Cards

Starting with the sources provided above, start cutting your evidence cards by:

  • Opening the blank evidence card template, and make one affirmative and one negative copy
  • You may also refer to the evidence card sample for help on how to complete it
  • Share your aff and neg card documents with your team by saving these docs in a debate folder
  • Choose an article and read through it - locate information that might support an argument
  • Decide whether this specific piece of information would support the AFF or NEG and write a "tag" so that it's easy to reference during the debate
  • Copy and paste the direct quotation from the source that make sure that it connects. Limit to 1-2 paragraphs since you will be expected to read it. 
  • Locate and write all the source information (name of article, author, credentials, date of publishing)
  • Write down vocabulary that you may be unfamiliar with and look it up (that might be a cross examination question)
  • Provide your own analysis on the evidence that you just pasted. What does it mean? How does it connect to your argument? How does it solve for your side?‚Äč

Recommended Databases

Recommended Web Sources

Period 7: Designer Babies

  • Crispr/Cas9: An Explanation of the New Technology
  • A Revolution in Process: Human Genetics and Medical Research: From the US Department of Health and Human Services, a comprehensive guide to genetic modification, the science behind it, and ethical concerns. 

Period 8: Assisted Suicide

  • The Suicide Plan: A PBS documentary series on issues surrounding assisted suicide and the "right to die" policy
  • Death with Dignity: The organization that promoted Oregon's Death with Dignity Act

Recommended Books