How and When to Countercase

By Miriam Pierson, Swarthmore College ’18 Note: If you want to get a general sense of what a countercase can look like, here’s a link to a video where the opposition team countercases. Read this article and then watch the video for further clarification. In debate rounds, the government team generally proposes a change and the […]

Case Writing Basics

By Anika Matin, The George Washington University ’18 Starting out on APDA, you will come to the realization that you will be the government team about half the time, and you will need cases to run. Writing a case will take time, so here are some tips: Start off simple. This means taking the time […]

An Introduction to Debating About Economics

By Nik Venkatasubramanian, George Washington University ’18 Debating Economics and Finance I: Trade and Specialization Introduction Debate about Economics sounds scary. You scroll through the news every morning and you see scary graphs and big words on the Wall Street Journal. The sharp parts of those graphs look like tiny cliffs that seem dangerous and […]

An Introduction to Debating About International Relations

By Andrew Bowles, George Washington University ‘17 I. Introduction In the real world, debates about international relations are often prohibitively difficult to engage in. They require extensive specific knowledge, much of which is in reality highly classified, and expect participants to understand a variety of complex frameworks and issues just to engage. This frequently translates into […]

Responding to Arguments

By Matt Rohn, Franklin & Marshall ’16 The constructive speeches (the first four) are primarily about two things, making arguments and responding to the other team’s arguments. Once the LOC goes oncase almost everything until rebuttals will be responses to arguments that have already been made in the round. Those responses are then arguments in […]

Tight Calls Part II

By Danny Jaffe, Brandeis University ’17 Author’s Note: This is a more advanced article on tight calls. Strategies for Tight Calls APDA debaters have devised several strategies regarding tight calls that are important to be aware of as a new debater. First, there is the “tight block”.  A tight block is essentially a list of pre-written […]

Understanding Win Conditions

By Harry Zhang, Johns Hopkins ’17 Theory of Debate: Understanding Win Conditions In debate, sound strategy is just as important to success as making effective arguments or writing powerful cases. Debating strategically and intelligently is a hallmark of all successful debaters and one of the easiest ways you can gain an advantage over your opponents. […]

A Guide to Debating About Art

By Mars He, Harvard University ’18 I’ve heard many times, after being in or seeing a debate about art, that art rounds are undebatable, unfair, or pointless because “art is subjective.” And while I never spent time on the American high school debate circuit, my understanding of it is that most formats also steered away […]

No High School Debate Experience? No Problem

By Rebecca Heller, Georgetown University ’16 Author’s Note: This article is intended for all novices, but it is specifically geared towards people who did not participate in high school debate. If you did participate in high school debate, consider reading this article as well. Joining APDA can be trickier—and more intimidating—if you don’t have high school debate experience. […]

Basics of the Member of Opposition (MO) Speech

By Alex Adia, Brown University ’18 The MO’s Role in the Round The MO is most often described as the most flexible speech in the round. The PMC is pre-written, and the LOC’s job is to lay out the groundwork and outline the strategy that Opp will take in the round. The MG is the […]