The History and Mathematics of Codes and Code Breaking

Tag: strong argument

Debate Judging Criteria

In the debate tomorrow, I will be judging the strength of each team's arguments based on several criteria.

First and foremost is the clarity of arguments. Teams will be judged primarily on not only the merit of their arguments but whether they can express their viewpoints clearly. Even if a presented argument is powerful, if the idea is not expressed clearly then it will not be considered a strong argument. In addition, conciseness will be considered, as a strong argument should be succinct as well.

Supporting evidence will also be a significant part of the judging criteria. Without sufficient evidence to support a claim, it will be not help support the overall argument the team makes. In fact, an argument without sufficient evidence could likely hurt a team's position, as the other team would most likely capitalize on a weak argument to strengthen their own. However, presenting too much evidence for a claim also is not desirable, because a succinct argument is stronger than an argument supported by a laundry list of evidence.

Lastly, the manner in which teams respond to counterarguments will likely determine how strong their arguments are. Coming up with counterarguments against a claim is relatively easy, but defending a claim against counterarguments is harder and really shows how well a team knows their argument by showing that they considered potential arguments the other side could make. Having strong refutations to counterarguments would considerably improve the strength of an argument.

Criteria for a Strong Debate

I will be a member of the jury for a debate on Monday. There are several things that I expect to see from both teams.

The arguments of both teams need to be well prepared. I want all of the arguments to be thorough and well organized. If the argument is confusing for me to understand, I will be less likely to pick it. I also do not want teams to state the obvious, I want to delve into their topic, and say something that I have not heard before. I want to be compelled by both arguments.
The more unique and interesting a point in the argument is, the more likely I will be to pick it. In my opinion, there is nothing worse than an information that you already know in an argument because it makes the argument boring.

I want teams to have strong counterarguments, and to do this the team must think about what the other team will potentially say. I expect teams to be prepared for counter arguments. To be well-prepared teams must do thorough research for and against their side. Even though the teams need to be well prepared, they need to listen to what the other team says to be able to give a good rebuttal.

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