Elements of Debating eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 138 pages of information about Elements of Debating.
and that they do not bear directly on the question, but in reality support some more important reason that you have set down.  As you begin to notice this, go through your pack of cards and arrange them in the order of importance.  Begin a new pile with every statement that seems to bear directly upon the proposition and put under it those statements that seem to support it.  You will soon find that you have all your cards in two or three piles.  Now examine the cards which you have on the top of each pile.  See if the proof of these statements would convince any person that you are right.  If so you have probably found the issues.

Always think first, then read, then think again.

If you have determined the issues wisely, it will be easy in the debate itself to show the audience and the judges what those issues are.  You will have a tremendous advantage over your opponent, who in his haste or laziness may have chosen what are not the real issues of the question.  He may present well the material that he has, but if that material does not support the fundamental issues of the question, you are right in calling the attention of the judges to that fact.

Few debates are won on the platform.  They are won by thoughtful preparation.  Be prepared.


1.  Give in your own words, as briefly as you can, a definition of the term “the issues of a question.”

2.  Give one illustration of your own of the issues of a question.

3.  What is meant by “determining the issues”?

4.  Will the affirmative and the negative teams always agree on the issues?

5.  Can a question have two entirely different sets of issues?  Why, or why not?

6.  If there can be only one correct set of issues for a question, and you believe that you have determined those, what must you do in the debate if your opponents advance different issues?

7.  Think over carefully and set down what you believe are the issues of one of the following propositions.  Frame the issues as questions.

(1) a) Football Should Be Abolished in This [your own] School.

b) Football Should Be Installed as a Regular Branch of Athletics in This [your own] School.

(2) a) Manual Training Should Be Established in This
Domestic Science \ [your own] School.

b) Manual Training   /    Boys   Should Be Made Compulsory
| For|       |in This [your own]
Domestic Science  \    \Girls  \  School.

8.  Are there any terms in any of the above propositions which should be made more clear to an average audience?  Are there any terms on the meaning of which two opposing teams might disagree?

9.  Define one such term so that it would be clear and convincing to an audience not connected with the school.

10.  Give two reasons why you believe it is or is not beneficial to study argumentation and debating.

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Elements of Debating from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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