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University of Texas at Austin
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Speech & Debate
Contact Info

Speech & Debate Director:
Jana Riggins

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Department Phone:

Department Fax:

State Champions

Criteria for Judging CX Debate

  1. Debate is a contest in arguing a specific resolution. Each affirmative team will interpret the resolution differently. Your task is to determine whether the affirmative proves that the adoption of the resolution would be in the best interests of the United States.
  2. Regardless of your judging philosophy, there are generally six types of arguments which may evolve in a debate round. To make your judgment, you should take notes, and after the round, balance the issues. This will help you determine, based on what the debaters presented, whether adopting the resolution is in the best interests of the United States.
    Issues Definition
    Topicality Whether the affirmative plan supported by the case is within the current resolution.
    Harms Who or what is being hurt.
    Significance Whether the harm the affirmative talks about is really important.
    Inherency Whether the problem the affirmative talks about can be solved by the present system without much modification.
    Solvency Whether the affirmative plan can meet the needs described in the affirmative case.
    A common negative issue
    Disadvantages Whether the affirmative plan would create additional problems beyond meeting the affirmative needs.
  3. Making the decision:
    1. Is the case topical? Unless the negative disproves this, assume it is. If not, vote negative. DON'T USE YOUR OWN BIAS.
    2. Inherency/Solvency Balancing. Balance how much of the problem can be solved by the affirmative proposal. If part of the problem remains, go on.
    3. Significance/Disadvantages Balancing. Balance the gains expected with the affirmative system over the present system with any disadvantages the negative has proven will occur in the new system. If the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, vote affirmative. If not, vote negative.
  4. Speed of delivery: Some debaters have developed an excessively rapid style of delivery that interferes with the element of communication that is basic to debate. The ballot provides an avenue for indicating to the debater that speed of delivery did or did not interfere with communication. If the speaker’s speed of delivery interferes with your ability to follow the course of the debate, you should lower the speaker points.
  5. Filling out the ballot:
    1. Record decision (affirmative or negative)
    2. Award points (30 points is highest; 20 is the lowest) to each debater. Since speaker points are a crucial determinant of advancement, avoid excessively low speaker points unless truly warranted.
    3. Award ranks (1,2,3,4 with 1st being awarded to the debater with the most points and so on) to debaters. Points and ranks should correspond.
    4. Write your reasons for your decision in the space provided.
    5. Sign your ballot.
  6. Time Limits. Continuous speaking time and order of speeches shall be as follows:
    1. Constructive:
      Affirmative, 8 minutes
      Cross-Examination by Negative, 3 minutes
      Negative, 8 minutes
      Cross-Examination by Affirmative, 3 minutes
      Affirmative, 8 minutes
      Cross-Examination by Negative, 3 minutes
      Negative, 8 minutes
      Cross-Examination by Affirmative, 3 minutes
    2. Rebuttal:
      Negative, 5 minutes
      Affirmative, 5 minutes
      Negative, 5 minutes
      Affirmative, 5 minutes
      Each member of a team shall deliver a constructive speech and a rebuttal speech. In rebuttal, either team may present its speakers in reverse order.
    3. Preparation Time. A team shall take no more than eight minutes total elapsed preparation time during a round of debate.

      Presenting a very brief preview of argument order before speeches, often referred to as a “roadmap,” aids in clarity of the round and is not considered part of the speech. However, debaters should not abuse this privilege by excessive length of the roadmap. Abuse may count against a team at the discretion of the judge(s).