The Basics of Speech
Learning about Debate
Debate is a special type of persuasive communication. Debate involves creating a proposition, researching the topic, and arguing the issues. A proposition is a statement of a problem that is worded so that there are clearly two sides to the argument. There are three types of propositions: propositions of fact, propositions of value, and propositions of policy. A proposition of fact is a statement that something is or is not true. A proposition of value is a statement that something is good or bad, right or wrong, useful or useless. A proposition of policy is a statement that something should or should not be done. Most formal debates center on propositions of policy. Arguments are based on evidence such as examples, expert testimony, statistics, logic, and analogies. There are two major types of debate formats: policy debate and Lincoln-Douglas debate. In a policy debate, two teams debate a proposition of policy. In a Lincoln-Douglas debate, two speakers debate a proposition of value. Learning the debate process will help you develop valuable research, organizational, critical-listening, and speaking skills.