Lincoln Douglas Outline
Before you begin your speech briefly thank the judge and your opponent for providing the opportunity for this important debate.
I. Engage With an Attention-Getter.
The attention-getter is designed to intrigue the audience members and to motivate them to listen attentively for the next several minutes. There are infinite possibilities for attention-getting devices. Some of the more common devices include using a story, a surprising statistic, or a quotation. Whichever you choose, be sure that your attention-getter makes sense to the case and that it is explained.
II. Provide a Resolutional Analysis.
Say the precise wording of the topic so your judge knows exactly what is being debated. Explain what the resolution is asking – most require that you choose between two values (ex. “Resolved: Individuality should be valued above community”), other topics have implied values which require a little more explanation.
III. Offer Definitions.
Clearly define the vital words/phrases in the resolution and cite the dictionary or encyclopedia you used. Make sure the definitions you choose support what you are arguing – definitions matter – sometimes they decide who wins and loses the debate!
IV. Propose a Value.
A value is an ideal held by individuals, societies, or governments that serves as the highest goal to be protected/achieved. In general, the debater will establish a value which focuses the central questions of the resolution and will serve as a foundation for argumentation. Explain how the value relates to the topic.
V. Offer a Criterion.
You should present a criterion (a standard) which should be used to:
Explain how the value should be protected, respected, maximized, or achieved. Measure whether a given side or argument protects, respects, maximizes, or achieves the value. The relationship between the value and the criterion should be clearly stated.
VI. Present Contention 1.
Provide a “tagline” or brief title to the argument. Introduce the claim or argument you are making (ex. “Capital punishment deters crime”). Introduce your warrant – the reason your claim is true. Offer valid evidence that supports your claim (ex. “According to the Attorney General, states that have the death penalty have less violent crime”). Explain the impact of your argument on the debate. Be sure to relate your argument back to the resolution and explain how this argument helps to uphold the value (ex. “Because capital punishment decreases crime it upholds Justice, which is the most important value in today’s round”).
VII. Present Contention 2.
Is the claim clear? Is valid evidence offered? Is the warrant clear? (Is the piece of evidence explained, how does it apply to the resolution?) Is enough evidence offered to prove the claim? Does the case explain how this piece of evidence helps to uphold the value?
VIII. Present Contention 3.
Same as Contention 1 and 2 above!
IX. End the Speech with a Solid Conclusion.
Review the main points of the case, especially the value. Use the criterion to “weigh the case” (or prove how your arguments best support the value). Provide a final thought that refers back to the attention-getter. Ask for the win (ex. “For all these reasons I can see nothing but an affirmative ballot”).