Types/Formats of Debate Offered

Public Forum features two teams of two students apiece, who debate a current issue of importance. Being able to persuade a range of judges is a central component to this format of debate. Please note: Summary speech and prep times were revised in 2021.

Speech Time Limit Purpose
Team A Speaker 1: Constructive 4 minutes Present the team's case
Team B Speaker 1: Constructive 4 minutes Present the team's case
Crossfire 3 minutes Speaker 1 from teams A and B alternate asking and answering questions.
Team A Speaker 2: Rebuttal 4 minutes Refute the opposing side’s arguments and defend/extend Team A's case.
Team B Speaker 2: Rebuttal 4 minutes Refute the opposing side’s arguments and defend/extend Team B's case.
Crossfire 3 minutes Speaker 2 from teams A and B alternate asking and answering questions.
Team A Speaker 1: Summary 3 minutes Summarize the most important issues in the debate, and why Team A's arguments are more worthy than Team B's.
Team B Speaker 1: Summary 3 minutes Summarize the most important issues in the debate, and why Team B's arguments are more worthy than Team A's.
Grand Crossfire 3 minutes All four debaters engage in interactive questioning and answering.
Team A Speaker 2: Final Focus 2 minutes Explain why Team A wins the round over Team B.
Team B Speaker 2: Final Focus 2 minutes Explain why Team B wins the round over Team A.
Each team is entitled to three minutes of prep time during the round.

Public Forum Debate: Structure
(has older speech times)

Public Forum Debate: Showcase
(has older speech times)

WHSFA State Contest 2018

WHSFA State Contest 2017

Demonstration Debate 2017

Demonstration Debate 2015

Lincoln-Douglas Debate typically appeals to individuals who like to debate, but prefer a one-on-one format as opposed to a team or group setting. As a format centering around values to weigh issues of societal importance, questions of morality and justice are commonly examined.

Speech Time Limit Purpose
Affirmative Constructive 6 minutes Present the affirmative case
Negative Cross-Examination 3 minutes Negative asks questions of the affirmative
Negative Constructive 7 minutes Present the negative case and refute the affirmative case
Affirmative Cross-Examination 3 minutes Affirmative asks questions of the negative
First Affirmative Rebuttal 4 minutes Refute the negative case and rebuild the affirmative case
Negative Rebuttal 6 minutes Refute the affirmative case, rebuild the negative case, and offer reasons that negative should win the round, commonly referred to as voting issues.
2nd Affirmative Rebuttal 3 minutes Address negative voting issues and offer reasons for why the affirmative should win.
Each debater is entitled to four minutes of prep time during the round.

Lincoln-Douglas Debate: Introduction

Lincoln-Douglas Debate: Showcase

Congressional Debate typically appeals to students who are interested in socially and politically interacting with peers to discuss a problem in a group setting. Using Robert’s Rules of Order, students give alternating, brief affirmative and negative speeches, followed by questioning periods.

Speech Time Limit Purpose
Sponsorship 3 minutes Constructs advocacy by explaining need for the legislation to solve/mitigate a problem, and how it will do that.
Questioning of Sponsor 2 minutes Presiding officer recognizes 4 students to each engage in a 30-second direct question-and-answer periods with the sponsor.
First Negative 3 minutes Constructs opposition by explaining how attempting to solve/mitigate a problem with the legislation will fail to meet objectives or will make the problem worse
Questioning of First Negative 2 minutes Presiding officer recognizes 4 students to each engage in a 30-second direct question-and-answer periods with the first negative.
Subsequent Speeches 3 minutes Refutes opponents’ arguments by explaining why they are incorrect and extends previous arguments on the same side to related concepts or more in-depth exploration.
Subsequent Questioning 1 minute Presiding officer recognizes 2 students to each engage in a 30-second direct question-and-answer period.
Debate on each item of legislation may last up to an hour, at which time, the presiding officer takes a vote of delegates, and moves on to the next agenda item. The chamber may take a brief break, or recess.

Congressional Debate: Showcase

Parliamentary Procedure & Presiding

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