Adjudication Concepts
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Adjudication Concepts



Monash Association of Debaters (MAD) Member Training Program 2010 presents: ...

Monash Association of Debaters (MAD) Member Training Program 2010 presents:


by Amit Golder, Best Speaker & Champion at the 2009 Australasian Intervarsity Debating Championships and co-CA of the 2010 Monash IV

Briefly covers the fundamentals of adjudication before moving into discussion of some of the more difficult and controversial aspects of adjudicating debates.

Presented as session 1, semester 1 in the Intermediate/Advanced Stream.



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Adjudication Concepts Adjudication Concepts Presentation Transcript

  • How to Adjudicate Amit Golder, Victor Finkel + Ray D’Cruz
  • Your Job:
    • Decide who won the debate + why
    • Convey this to the teams clearly
    • Provide constructive feedback to teams/speakers
  • Who are you?
    • You are the average reasonable debater
    • You do not have specialist knowledge
    • You do have a good sense of logic
    • You may not enter the debate
  • Who wins?
    • T h e most persuasive team?
    • The highest scoring team?
    • The team that wins on ‘matter’ ie the issues in the debate?
    • Answer: All of the above, to different extents
  • Matter
    • Logic (why?)
      • Does one thing follow from another?
      • Can this be reasonably inferred?
    • Relevance (why should I care?)
      • Do the premises support the conclusions?
      • Does the conclusion support that side of the topic?
  • Manner
    • Vocal
      • Volume, pace, tone, clarity
      • Word choice (precision)
      • Humour?
    • Non-Vocal
      • Gesture, eye contact, stance/body
  • Method
    • Structure
    • Priority/timing
    • Responsiveness
  • How to Adj:
    • The ‘third speech for the whole debate’ style:
      • Pick 2-4 themes that encapsulate the debate.
      • Analyse all the matter in the debate through those themes
      • Balance the contributions of each team, across the 6 speakers of the debate, decide which team won
      • When critically evaluating the matter, refer to manner and method
        • Ie. Good method/manner can increase the persuasive effect of arguments/rebuttal
  • How to Adj:
    • Using the criteria as your guide:
      • Who wins on matter, manner and method? How much do they win by? Who wins the debate?
    • Other methods (Ravi? Meredith?)
    • Note-taking
      • Format
      • Analysis – as you go or at the end?
      • Dangers – don’t finish arguments or keep incomplete notes
  • How to Adj:
    • Scoring:
      • As you go: most people note an indication of the range of speech they saw, ie 76/7.
      • Be willing to change/re-evaluate preliminary scores.
    • Your ‘instincts’
      • Find ways to justify a debate without resorting to instinct!
      • Does not mean instincts about a decision are incorrect, just means they are not sufficient to justify a result.
  • How to Oral:
    • In our opinion, your oral decision should proceed like so:
    • The decision – who won?
    • The reasons for that, as clearly presented as possible!
    • Your feedback to the teams – about the whole debate (whole-of-debate matter, common issues) and each team (cases/tactics)
    • Individual feedback, privately, after the debate, in a sexy way.
  • Feedback:
    • Constructive feedback is feedback that can be used again! ‘You are shit’ is not as constructive as you think!
    • The compliment sandwich is useful with younger debaters – acknowledging strengths doesn’t make you a bad adjudicator!
    • Give examples from the debate, people like to see that you are paying attention.
  • Potential Issues:
    • Definitions:
    • Only invalid if undebatable, but if not that reasonable, keep this in mind.
    • Reward the negative team that tries.
    • 3 rd Speakers + New Matter:
    • Remember the rules, but be reasonable.
    • Penalise, but almost never totally ignore.
  • Potential Issues:
    • Burdens:
    • Teams can say they have whatever burden they want, and can claim burdens of other teams – only YOU may decide whether something must be proved/shown to win the debate.
    • Negative Cases:
    • Can’t run a ‘pure negation’ – but this is actually quite rare! Mostly there’s an implicit defence of the status quo.
  • Potential Issues:
    • False Facts:
    • Remember, you are average reasonable person, can only dismiss false facts if they are obvious, or another team calls them on it.
    • Be wary of entering the debate – but you can use your normal logic skillz if the logic of an argument is missing/crappy.