Whitman Intramural Debates Tips Page


Tips for the IM Debates!


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  • You will be affirmative (for the resolution) in one debate and negative (against the resolution) in the other debate.

  • For the affirmative, do this:
    Take your position on the resolution. If the topic is for affirmative action, then you support affirmative action.
    List out and give support for two to four reasons in favor of affirmative action. Give examples, logic, etc. to support each of your reasons.
    Think through what the negative is going to say against you and think through responses to those arguments.

  • For the negative side, do this:
    Think through what arguments the affirmative might present in favor of the resolution and mentally prepare responses to those arguments (you can write down notes on those too).
    Think through your own arguments against the resolution—show that it would be bad; that it would be harmful.
    Further, consider: would a different way of changing things be superior to the change supported by the affirmative? If so, argue for that. For example, if the resolution is for nuclear power to provide energy—you could argue for solar power instead. (see the tournament rules to make sure your arguments are permitted)

  • NOTE: In ALL DIVISIONS, you may not present debate theory arguments (e.g. ASPEC), generic disadvantages or kritiks. You MUST argue against the specific affirmative case presented against you (e.g. if they say solar power is good; you need to argue against solar power). You can argue that the affirmative case does not follow the resolution.


  • Get a sponsor from the speech and debate team. Your sponsor will help you prepare your case, practice, etc. To get a sponsor, just ask any member of the speech and debate team. You can contact them from this web page: Speech and Debate Team Members.

You can also show up at Hunter Conservatory Foyer by 4:00 p.m. the day of the tournament for a “Help you Prepare” Session where you will work one-on-one with a debater.



Questions should be directed to Jim Hanson at hansonjb@whitman.edu