First Debate Resolution and Format

Debate Resolution

“By the end of the seventeenth century, the English had developed an alternative to absolute monarchy, ended the authority of the Church in politics and society, and recognized the need for state-supported scientific research. In essence, by 1700 England had created the first modern, secular, science and technology-driven society.”


Round 1

  • Pro side presents its argument (5-7 minutes)
  • Con side presents its argument (5-7 minutes)

5-minute break to prepare rebuttals

Round 2

  • Con side presents its rebuttal (3-5 minutes)
  • Pro side presents its rebuttal (3-5 minutes)

5-minute break for debaters and audience to prepare questions

Round 3

  • Questions from debaters and audience (15 minutes)

5-minute break to prepare closing statements

Round 4

  • Closing statements by con and pro sides, in that order (3 minutes each)
  • Vote by class to determine winner
  • Awarding of “Age of Reason”-themed prize!

Debate teams may want to meet ahead of time to prepare the arguments they will use during the debate. Teams should also anticipate their opponent’s arguments and questions from the floor, and prepare rebuttal points. Each team should designate ahead of time who will a) deliver the opening argument; b) deliver the rebuttal; c) respond to questions; and d) make the closing statement. Each speaker should stand when presenting an argument or rebuttal, and should speak slowly and clearly. If possible, practice your presentations before the day of the debate. Finally, at the start of the debate each participant is required to turn in a single-sided, one page position statement. Each team member will be graded individually.

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2011