The Code of the Debater: Introduction to Policy Debating

The Code of the Debater: Introduction to Policy Debating

The Code of the Debater: Introduction to Policy Debating

The Code of the Debater: Introduction to Policy Debating


Provides a practical introduction to policy debate for beginners and a quick reference for expeienced debaters. Sections present background on policy debate and debate tournaments; the basics of policy debate, including how to present and attack cases, deal with stock issues and disadvantages, and develop counterplans; and the role and responsibilities of each debater. Code of the Debater also helps debaters develop important skills: speaking, cross-examining, flowing, organizing; analyzing evidence, and briefing. Each section includes exercises to help users put abstract ideas into practice.


Chapter 1 introduces you to the concepts underlying policy debate. It describes the basic elements of this type of debate—the structure of debate competition, the ideas to be debated, and your role in the debate. After reading this chapter, you should begin to feel at home in this new intellectual space.

What Is Debate?

Debate is about change. We are constantly engaged in a struggle to better our lives, our community, our country, our world, and our future. We should never be satisfied with the status quo—surely something in our lives needs improving.

Debate is the process that determines how change should occur. It attempts to justify altering the way we think and live. Debate occurs on the floor of the U.S. Congress, during school government meetings, and at your dinner table. Some debates are formal, such as when the General Assembly of the United Nations debates whether to sanction Iran for its nuclear program. Others are informal, such as a debate with your parents about when you can begin driving a car. The rules governing debates may differ, but the process is the same—discussion resolves whether a specific change should occur.

Why Debate?

Although engaging in formal debate can take time and effort, millions of students through the years have found that it is worthwhile for many reasons.

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