Sunset Cliffs Classic Invitational Tournament Information

Dear Colleagues:

 The Point Loma Nazarene University forensics squad is pleased to invite you to our annual SUNSET CLIFFS CLASSIC Invitational forensics tournament.  The tournament will be held February 13-14, 2016.  We hope you can come enjoy our beautiful seaside campus and the typically sunny weather.   

 We will offer open and novice division competition in all eleven AFA individual events (collapsing some events should numbers so dictate) and six rounds of Junior and Senior divisions of Parliamentary Debate, and junior and senior divisions of NFA LD debate, plus one division of British Parliamentary Debate. 

  • British Parliamentary Debate Note:  This year we will again offer a division of British Parliamentary Debate as it went so well the last few years.  We hope that it will attract not only some of the well-established BP programs, but also other schools that have been wanting to experiment with this newer format to our region.  This event might open a world of travel and debate opportunity for your programs.  Due to the longer scheduled number of and time of rounds though, students and judges in BP debate cannot be involved in other forms of debate or individual events at the Sunset Cliffs. 
  • Round Robin Note: On Friday, February 12th, 2016, Pt Loma will also host a one day Round Robin Tournament of Excellence for NPDA style parliamentary Debate. We expect to limit the field to a dozen or so of the top teams in the nation.  Teams that placed first or second in the following areas for the previous year will receive automatic bids to the Round Robin – NPDA Final Round; NPDA Yearlong Sweeps; NPTE Final Round; PLNU Sunset Cliffs Final Round, PLNU RR Final Round. And as always we will extend an invitation to at least one top community college, whether they are represented in the earlier qualifying slots or not.  This year those invitations will go to El Camino College and Irvine Valley College. We realize that budgetary restraints and schedule conflicts will not allow all these teams to accept their bids this year.  We will fill the remaining slots by competitive bid from other top programs around the county.  We are inviting directors of forensics interested in being considered for this tournament to submit to me an electronic bid for one team by January 6th, including the names of the proposed debaters and critic, and the debaters’ record and significant accomplishments.    Please also send me a note by Wednesday, January 6th if you are qualify for an automatic bid, as to whether you will be joining us or not this year.

·         SDSU IE and IPDA Note: San Diego State University will also be hosting an Individual Event Swing this year on Friday, February 12th, 2016.  They are discussing the possibility of adding IPDA debate to their event. The Sunset Cliffs Classic IEs will not start until around noon Saturday, to allow swing IEers to catch up on their rest.

·         Electronic Debate Balloting this year: Mike Middleton has agreed to run debate tab for us in NPDA Parli, and will be using electronic ballots.  So judges for debate are required to have an electronic phone or tablet or lap top capable of receiving e mails to qualify as judges, and bring a charger please.  Judges should not be on line during the actual debate rounds though, for any reason, including but not limited to social media, fact checking, etc. . . You may flow on your electronic device if you are a judge. This added note from Mike:  Additional instructions about email balloting will be provided once registration has closed. However, please ensure that you supply an email address in the judge notes for each judge you enter AND please be sure it is an email that can access throughout the tournament.

·         Topic Areas and Recommendations:  The President’s State of the Union Address will be offered a few weeks prior to the tournament, and  we will continue to draw Parliamentary debate topics from the address for both the Sunset Cliffs and the Round Robin.  Coaches and students are invited to submit recommended topics for our consideration.  Those submissions should be in by February 6th, 2016.

  • Some noteworthy attractions of the Sunset Cliffs Classic include:

·         With multiple national championships within driving distance to our campus this year (NPDA, NPTE, Phi Rho Pi, and NCCFA), it will be a good opportunity to see and be seen by this judging pool.

·         Strong competition with diverse regional representation and quality judging.

·         A picturesque ocean front campus.

·         Two $3,000.00 scholarships for the top community college competitors (one each for  debate & IE’s) for tuition at PLNU.

·         A Sunday morning chapel for all interested coaches, judges, and/or students.

·         Attractive trophies.

We look forward to you joining us this year.  And by the way, we are still accepting applications for full time tenure track teaching positions in our department of Communication and Theatre, one for a generalist in communication and part time Assistant Director of Communication, and the other to cover General Communication and Organizational Communication classes, with some Public Relations as possible additional classes.  Just check out our schools Human Resources home page for the listing.

Please let me know of any questions or concerns.


Dr. Skip Rutledge, Director of Forensics                     Prof. Lorina Schraugher, ADOF                              

(619) 849-2391                                                           (619) 849.2585

Special note on debate judges: Please enter judges’ e mail address for ballot dissemination, and Judging Philosophies for all debate judges through registration.  These added steps will help the tournament run more smoothly and on time, and provide a more pleasant round experience for debaters and judges alike.
2016 Sunset Cliffs Classic - Schedule of Events



ATURDAY, February 13th, 2016

7:00-8:00                              REGISTRATION (Cabrillo Hall)

8:00              Topic Announce: Round 1

8:20-9:05         Round One: NPDA Debate (random-matched)

9:30              Topic Announce: Round 2

9:50-10:35        Round Two: NPDA Debate (random-matched)

10:55             Topic Announce: Round 3

11:15-12:00       Round Three: NPDA Debate (high-low matched)

12:15-12:45                         LUNCH BREAK – On Your Own

12:50             Topic Announce: Round 4

1:10-1:55         Round Four: NPDA Debate (high-low matched)

2:15                              Extemp Draw

2:30-3:45                       Round One: Pattern A Events (EXT, INFO, ADS, PRO, POE)

                                    Round One: NFA LD Debate (random matched)

3:55              Topic Announce: Round 5

4:15-5:00         Round Five: NPDA Debate (high-low matched)

5:15                              Extemp Draw

5:30-6:45                       Round Two: Pattern A Events (EXT, INFO, ADS, PRO, POE)

                                    Round Two: NFA & IPDA LD Debate (high-low matched)

6:55              Topic Announce: Round 6

7:15-8:00         Round Six: NPDA Debate (high-low matched)

8:15-9:00                       Round Three: NFA LD Debate (high-low matched)

ASAP                                     POST BREAKS – on campus and to


SUNDAY, February 14th, 2016

8:00-8:30                              Chapel Service – Crill Auditorium

8:40              Topic Announce: Elimination Rd 1: Double Octos NPDA

9:00-9:45         Elimination Rd 1:Double Octos: NPDA Debate

10:00-11:15                   Round One: Pattern B Events (IMP, PER, CA, DRA, POI, DUO)

                                    Round Four: NFA LD Debate (high-low matched)

11:25             Topic Announce: Elimination Rd 2: Octos NPDA

11:45-12:30       Elimination Rd 2 Octofinals: NPDA Debate

12:45-2:00                     Round Two: Pattern B Events (IMP, PER, CA, DRA, POI, DUO)

                                    Quarterfinals: NFA LD Debate

2:10              Topic Announce: Elimination Round 3: Quarters NPDA

2:30-3:15         Quarterfinals: Elimination Rd 3: NPDA Debate

3:30                              Extemp Draw

3:45-5:15                       Finals: ALL Individual Events

                                    Semifinals: NFA LD Debate

5:25              Topic Announce: Elimination Round 4: NPDA Semis

5:45-6:30         Elimination Rd 4: Semifinals: NPDA Debate

6:30 P.M.                              AWARDS CEREMONY – Crill Auditorium (about an hour)

ASAP              Elimination Rd 5: Finals: NPDA Debate

ASAP                           Finals: NFA LD Debate



2016 Sunset Cliffs Classic 

 British Parliamentary Debate Schedule



Saturday,   February 13th , 2016

8:20 - 8:40            Registration for tournament – Cabrillo 101

8:30 – 9:30           Training Session for British Parliamentary Judges and debaters – Fermanian Business Center         

10:00                     Round One Topic Announcement

10:15                     Begin Speaking

11:20                     Judge Deliberation

11:35                     Ballots due back to judges table

11:35 – 1:00         Lunch

1:00                        Round Two Topic Announcement

1:15                        Begin Speaking

2:20                        Judge Deliberation

2:35                        Ballots due back to judges table

3:00                        Round Three Topic Announcement

3:15                        Begin Speaking

4:20                        Judge Deliberation

4:35                        Ballots due back to judges table


5:00                        Round Four Topic Announcement

5:15                        Begin Speaking

6:20                        Judge Deliberation

6:40                        Ballots due back to judges table

Go Home! If entries necessitate an additional elimination round, we can move round 5 here)

Sunday – February 14th, 2016

8:00-8:30              Tournament Chapel Crill Performance Hall


9:30                        Round Five Topic Announcement

9:45                        Begin Speaking

10:50                     Judge Deliberation

11:05                     Ballots due back to judges table


11:30                     Round Six Topic Announcement

11:45                     Begin Speaking

12:50                     Judge Deliberation

1:05                        Ballots due back to judges table


1:20 – 2:20           Lunch Break


2:30                        Elimination Round One (possibly Semi Finals) Topic Announcement

2:45                        Begin Speaking

3:50                        Judge Deliberation

4:10                        Ballots due back to judges table


4:30                        Elimination Round Two (Possibly Final Round Topic Announcement

4:45                        Begin Speaking

5:50                        Judge Deliberation

6:15                        Ballots due back to judges table




2016 Sunset Cliffs Classic



Any regularly enrolled undergraduate in a recognized two-year or four-year college program carrying 6 or more units is eligible to participate.  All programs entering must be officially representing the schools in which they are enrolled.  Any contestant may enter up to 2 IEs per pattern OR Lincoln-Douglas debate and one division of NPDA debate, or only BP debate! So LDers may do NPDA also, but not IEs.  And BP debaters are restricted to just BP, with no other events.  These restrictions are all to help tournament management.  Thanks for understanding.



AFA, NFA, BP and NPDA regulations will govern their respective divisions, unless specified elsewhere in this invitation or deemed necessary by Tournament Director in unique situations. Procedures described in this invitation will prevail over NPDA, NFA, or AFA and other organizational rules if conflicts exist. Please note that our divisional qualifications may be more restrictive than AFA, NFA, or NPDA.  In debate, we will allow hybrid teams and three person teams to compete if necessary to allow more students to participate.  No individual may debate without a partner except in LD.



While we would like to encourage early entries, all entries must arrive no later than 5:00 p.m. on Monday, February 8th, 2016. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE do not have numerous changes beyond the deadline. Please double-check the web registration list before you come! We will not add entries after Monday.  Schools still owing fees from previous years must satisfy these debts before being accepted for this year’s tournament.

Web Page:          you may enter the Sunset Cliffs Classic through 

E-Mail Address:  (for special situations or questions for Skip, not for registration)



Divisions - There will be two divisions of NPDA Parliamentary Debate: Junior and Senior.  Junior debaters may have up to 4 semesters of college debate and should not have advanced to more than three elimination rounds in Junior or Senior competition.  Any debater that has advanced to the elimination rounds in debate at NPDA, NPTE, NDT, Phi Rho Pi or CEDA Nationals is considered to be a Senior Division debater, regardless of the other partner’s experience. Senior debaters are limited to students with 10 or fewer semesters of collegiate competition and who still maintain NPDA eligibility.  Divisional eligibility is determined based upon the most experienced partner. A semester means the student has competed in three or more college tournaments of any style of debate. PLNU students may compete.


Constraints - Although we strongly discourage judge strikes at a pedagogical level, we also recognize that in certain exceptional circumstances there may be extreme personal disagreements or long standing conflicts or perhaps even perceived personal animosity within such a community.  As such, each school will be allowed, if they feel they really must, to lodge up to four unexplained constraints for their school from a particular judge (not 4 per team) wherein we will attempt to keep a particular judge from hearing your Senior debate teams if you advise us of these constraints through the Contact the Tournament tab on the web registration program by Wednesday at noon PST prior to the tournament.  No additional constraints will be added later even if new judges need to be added later.  All regular school and divisional constraints are of course appreciated.

      So please constrain your judges from listening to teams or debaters they have recently coached, dated, owed or are due money to or from, or been team mates or roommates with.  Likewise if your debater has a situation we should know about, or your significant other coaches another team and it might have even the appearance of bias, let us know that as well.  Thanks for understanding.


Disclosure: For time management reasons, oral critiques immediately following the debates, if provided, may not exceed 5 minutes.  Ballots must then be returned immediately. Please help us keep on schedule. Delays attributed to coach/judges may at the tournament director’s discretion result in penalties to that school’s team(s), including automatic losses or removal from the tournament.  The tournament will offer on line warm room disclosure in accordance with NPDA nationals practice as a further check of accuracy for the tab room. 


Preparation Time: Topics will be announced in, at or near Crill Performance Hall or Cabrillo Hall. We allow 20-minutes for preparation and travel time to the competition room. Pre-written materials may be used in preparation but not consulted in the debates.  Whatever notes are consulted in the debate itself must have been written only by that debate’s actual competitors either during the preparation period, or during the round itself.  A written set of current NPDA rules may be referenced in round as at Nationals. While coaching is not banned, it can only occur once the coach has secured their ballot for that round and may not result in a delay of the commencement of the round.  Judges must start their rounds on time.


Forfeiture: A 5-minute forfeit rule will be enforced.  If either partner is more than 5 minutes late (even due to participating in IEs) the critic is asked to forfeit that team immediately and to so notify the tabulation room.  Participants or their representatives are all responsible to be present for timely topic announcements.  Failure to be there on time will not result in longer preparation time.  Lateness due to IE or LD participation is a risk you take by entering or double entering in IEs or NFA LD. 


Preparation Rooms: Government teams have no preferred access rights to the use of their preparation room during the preparation period, and prepping teams must allow them access during the last five minutes of the preparation period to set up.  Likewise, judges should not enter until five minutes prior to prep time elapsing to allow the team or teams to prepare. Additionally, each team is responsible for maintaining clean rooms at all times, as these same rooms are used for IE competition.  Teams may be charged a steep cleaning fee if rooms are left dirty.


Judges and Ballots: Judge changes from pushed ballots will be announced when possible and or posted on line, but in order to keep to schedule, it may be necessary to move ballots after prep time has started negating chances to notify effected parties in a timely manner.  We hate this practice, but hate late delays more. Judges please pick up ballots in a timely manner, or your teams may be penalized or removed from competition.  In fairness to teams who are encouraged to read your judging philosophies on line at, we wish to minimize pushed ballots.  Such ballot pushes delay an already long day.

BRITISH PARLIAMENTARY DEBATE – Elaboration and Encouragement

We will within reasonable limits attempt to honor what we know of to be the WUDC debate community standards for this section of British Parliamentary Debate, though forgive our ignorance on some of the nuances that differ drastically from those formats of debate with which we are more familiar. 


Here is a link provided by Dr. Robert Trapp to a chapter that will more fully explain the activity:


And I have attached to the end of this invitation a document provided from Dr. Gary Rybold prepared by Professor Ian Lising, Dr. Steve Johnson and others on how to adjudicate BP debate.  I hope these documents are helpful to those of you learning about this activity.  Don’t be intimidated by the length, it is actually very intuitive and easy to enjoy for even the freshest of beginners.


In short though, from what I have experienced, BP debate matches four teams per debate, two in favor of the proposition or resolution and two that oppose it. The teams all work independently of one another (with no group coaching or preparation allowed at all beyond just the two person team itself), and there may even be two or more teams from the same school in the same debate round.  Each debater gets one 7 minute constructive speech as is outlined in the Trapp document. 


There is a twenty minute preparation time prior to the round, following the announcement of the topic for that particular round, but no preparation time between speakers.  After the debaters speak, and all are asked to leave the chambers, the judges (typically two or three) then discuss the round and arrive at an order of teams (first through fourth) and an order of speakers (first through eighth).  Unlike other formats of parliamentary debate, it is not a side of the resolution that wins in BP, but instead the teams themselves, and that determination is decided by the judges in consultation with one another to the degree that the schedule allows. The chair of the judge’s panel will serve as tie breaker should there be a deadlock, or tie, or if time runs out the chair will be responsible for submitting the panel’s collective decision.  The chair may also explain the panel’s findings but should not delay the tournament by exceeding the allotted time to do so.


Logistically, participants and judges in this activity may not judge or compete in other activities at the Sunset Cliffs Classic due to schedule provided.  We expect to offer two elimination rounds of the top teams, following the 6 preliminary rounds.  A student is eligible to compete in this activity as long as they are enrolled in a degree program at the school for which they are competing (though that may be a graduate degree) and I understand that one may be a critic as long as one is at least an undergraduate, even if they have had little or no BP experience.  Frequently the debaters have more experience than some of the judges, and should know to adapt accordingly.


We will also attempt to provide some training and documents, as for example those provided in this invitation to help prepare competitors and adjudicators prior to the rounds.  You can always go to the PLNU Forensics page under hosted events to gain access to the instructional aids. That link is:



Students may not have competed with the selections in any interscholastic competition prior to September 1, 2015.  PLNU students may compete.  Students may not enter more than two events per pattern.  Due to the layout of the campus and the arrangement of the schedule, no exceptions can be made.  If a student is mistakenly entered in more than two events and we are unable to clarify the error with the coach in a timely manner, we will randomly remove the student from one or more of the remaining events.  In accordance with Phi Rho Pi and PSCFA regulations Duo Interp may include genres other than just drama.


Novice Division I.E.’s

A student who has not won two trophies (1st, 2nd, or 3rd Place) in an event or like event in which a final round occurred. Students competing in an event which is similar; must be eligible for novice in all of those similar events.  (Platform, Interp., Limited Prep).  As an example; a student who must be in Open Division in Prose, must also be open in Poetry, even if they have never competed in Poetry.  Anyone who has won Gold, Silver or Bronze (or the equivalent) at Phi Rho Pi or any other major national tournament (in college or high school) is not a novice in that event or similar events. 


LD debaters may not enter any Individual Events at all, and if they mistakenly enter they will be removed from the individual event(s) by the tournament.  Extempers may double enter in IEs at their own risk, but must compete in both events in the required time frame. We do not revise Extempers’ speaking times to accommodate double entry.  Since we only have two preliminary rounds we will not be averaging scores for missed rounds. The following events will be offered in open and novice divisions of competition:


      Pattern A – Extemp, Informative, After Dinner Speaking, Prose, Poetry.

Pattern B –Impromptu, Persuasive, CA, Drama, POI, and Duo Interp.



Computerized Debate or Extemp Files – Debaters or Extemporaneous speakers may use any and all electronic information retrieval systems (that are legal of course) during preparation times.   Attempts will be made to provide guest access to the internet through the school’s servers but no assurances of such access can be guaranteed.  Access has been good in recent years. This rule may be inconsistent with other governing national forensics organizations, but due to rapidly changing tech advances and the inability to effectively police transgressions of alternative restrictions, we feel this approach is more realistic, and fair.  Extempers’ preparation work is still to be their own of course, not coached or helped by friends, coaches or outside sources.



The 2015-2016 topic will be debated.  Please note that NFA L/D is a communication-oriented event, and that a description of the event, topic, and rules may be found on the web at the NFA/LD home page. L/D debaters may NOT compete in any other IE’ s in Pattern A or B.  This will help the tournament run on schedule and contribute to the wellness of those involved in LD.


The following fees will be assessed at the tournament:

$30.00 School Fee                  $10.00 per Individual Events slot (Duo = one slot).

$75.00 per NPDA Team         $25.00 per LD Debater

      $75.00 per BP team



Commitment - Each Individual Events judge can cover up to five IE slots or portion thereof per pattern, and each debate judge can cover up to two NPDA teams or LD entries.  Judges must be qualified to judge the level of competition at which their school’s competitors are entered.  Judges with any remaining eligibility in a given division are not deemed qualified to judge within that division.  Teams may not strike judges, but do read the constraint policy noted earlier.  Please alert us to all judging constraints with registration, or in a separate E Mail.  We need to know former coaches of your competitors, and competitors or schools which your judges cannot judge.  We ask for a four year separation per NPDA requirements.  If you have both IEs and LD, please let us know what your judges prefer to judge when these two conflict.


BP judges are handled differently than most other events.  Entries must provide at least one judge per school, and beyond that the number of judges can be one less than the number of teams entered by a given program (N-1).  All critics are responsible for judging all rounds, including elimination round(s). BP judges may not cover any other events in the tournament due to the time conflicts with BP rounds.  BP debate tradition allows undergraduates to judge that still have eligibility.  We will honor that tradition.


Judging Fees - Uncovered entries will be assessed on the following basis:

$10.00 per uncovered Individual Events slot.

$100.00 per uncovered NPDA debate team, and BP debate team.

$50.00 per uncovered LD spot.  LD judges may need to be assigned IE ballots from                      larger entry schools to help the pool to cover these events efficiently.

$50.00 per judge drop fee in addition to any uncovered fees for late judge drops, following the tournament entry deadline. 


Notice on Judge Shortage - We REALLY want you to bring your judges, not your money.  We will even try to hire some qualified judges that you bring beyond your commitment.  Please alert us to the availability of these additional judges for hire with your entry.  Due to a shortage of debate judges it will be necessary for each school to cover at least your first two teams (with rare exceptions).  We will attempt to find judges to cover additional teams, but we reserve the right to refuse uncovered teams.  We will pay $15.00 per NPDA debate round and $10.00 per individual event round and NFA LD round for judges we hire.  We will need your hired judges W-9s and the payment checks will be sent to hired judges within 30 days, hopefully much sooner.


Reminder - All judges are obligated to fulfill judging requirements.  This means NPDA Parli debate judges are needed until at least Octofinals and at least one round beyond their last remaining team’s elimination.  An individual events judge is committed through finals.  Meeting your professional commitment is essential to this tournament.  In the rare instance when a judge cannot attend Sunday for elimination rounds, clear it first through the tournament director. Please arrive at least 15 minutes prior to topic announcement time for debate and 15 minutes prior to the commencement of IE rounds.  

Thank you all. 


 Five Sweepstakes Awards will be presented to schools in both two-year and four-year school divisions.  Sweepstakes points will be based on the following formula:

IE: 1st Place = 10 points Finalist  = 4 points

2nd Place = 8 points        Semifinalist  = 2 points

3rd Place = 6 points

LD Double the IE formula above (based on longer speaking time, more rounds, and further restrictions against double entry placed upon LD debaters.

NPDA: -- Each preliminary win = 3 points (regardless of how many teams per division) .  Teams earning less than 3 wins in NPDA debate receive no sweepstakes points.

            -- 2 additional points for each team advancing to the initial elimination round (regardless of how many teams per division).

BP: Teams will be awarded 2 points for every team preliminary ranking of 1st, and 1 point for every preliminary ranking of 2nd place, with no points being awarded for 3rd and or 4th place rankings in preliminary rounds.  Each team advancing to elimination round(s) will receive an additional 4 points for their schools sweepstakes total. 



Awards for the top five open competitors will be presented for the most aggregate number of sweepstakes points earned by individual events competitors.  The formula used for calculating individual sweepstakes is identical to the formula used for school sweepstakes for individual events.



From North or South - Those coming to San Diego via Interstate 5, take the Sea World exit and proceed 2.4 miles and bear left at Nimitz Blvd.  Proceed to the first exit beyond

West Point Loma Blvd.

, which is Famosa/Catalina.  Turn right onto Catalina.  Proceed on Catalina in a somewhat southerly direction until you reach LOMALAND drive.  Turn right on Lomaland – You are at PLNU!


From the East - For those coming via Interstate 15 or 163, take Interstate 8 West until it ends at Nimitz and follow the above directions beginning with “bear left at Nimitz Blvd.”

From the Wyndham Garden Hotel  - proceed south on Sports Arena to Rosecrans, and turn right.  Follow Rosecrans about 3 miles to Canon.  Turn right on Canon and proceed on Canon to the top of the hill to Catalina, and then turn left.  Move quickly into the right hand lane, and turn right at the first stoplight, which will be Lomaland.  Drive up the hill and you are at PLNU!

From the Marriott - proceed north on Laning Road to Rosecrans, and turn left.  Follow Rosecrans about 1 mile to Canon.  Turn right on Canon and proceed on Canon to the top of the hill to Catalina, and then turn left.  Move quickly into the right hand lane, and turn right at the first stoplight, which will be Lomaland.  Drive up the hill and you are at PLNU!

From the Airport - Simply head West on Harbor to the Point Loma area (directional signs at airport help), turn left on Rosecrans, right on Canon and see above directions from the tournament hotel from there. 



Stop at the main gate as you enter the campus.  You will be directed to the commuter parking lot and will be given a map of the campus. Please do not to use the main commuter lot on Sunday Morning. We must reserve it for the use of First Church members, per our university’s contractual agreement for shared use of facilities between the University and First Church.  There are many other free parking spaces. 



There were some past incidents where a few students abused the campus rules, causing some minor acts of vandalism of school property and converting an unused room into a smoking lounge. In subsequent years, we have had increasing difficulty securing permission for the use of many rooms we needed based on these incidents. Further such transgressions may imperil our ability to offer this tournament at all in future years. Please encourage your teams to respect the rules and the facilities. Please also alert us to any problems you observe early enough for us to resolve them before potentially irate professors or staffers discover them on Monday. Thanks so much for your cooperation. Please also do not move any furniture between rooms, and do not attempt to relocate any podiums, tables, etc. that are wired in place.  It is very expensive to have these repositioned and reconnected by our media technicians.




Hotel Lodging Information


Wyndham Garden San Diego Hotel and Suites. (tournament hotel)

3737 Sports Arena Blvd., San Diego, CA 92111

$109*/night for a standard rooms (up to 4), $129 per suite (sleeps more than 4).

These rates are higher than last year, and probably in part due to upgrades (it is a Wyndham), and strong bookings in our region for other events that weekend this year.


The Wyndham Garden has many amenities (such as refrigerators, microwaves, hair dryers, irons, etc), is in walking distance to many fun restaurants, is fairly close to the campus, and we will post the breaks on line with the site on Saturday night so you need not delay dinner plans to see who breaks.  These are excellent rates for the San Diego Hotel market. Some suites, though higher than the standard rooms, allow for two queen beds and a foldaway sofa sleeper allowing maximum utilization of the suites. To book rooms with the Wyndham Gardens please call directly at (619) 881-6103.


Appendices for British Parliamentary Debate:


Guide to Chairing and Adjudicating a Worlds Debate

by Omar Salahuddin Abdullah, Ian Lising, Steven Johnson and others


This booklet is intended as a guide, to assist you in performing effectively in your principle role as an adjudicator in this competition, and to help you fulfill the other important responsibilities that are likely to be asked of you. These include things like: convening and chairing a debate, keeping time, conducting a post-debate adjudicators' discussion, and finally giving feedback and results to debaters. We understand that every experienced adjudicator will have developed an individual method for the way in which he or she runs a debate, records that debate, and gives feedback to teams and individual speakers. We are also aware that the type, quality and duration of experience will vary considerably from one individual adjudicator to another in a tournament of this type.


For the first time, in 1998, adjudicators were asked to give an oral adjudication, or feedback, at the conclusion of each of the first six rounds of debating (preliminaries). It is designed to accomplish a number of objectives; all of these being established by Council in response to the needs of debaters as they have been expressed over the years. The first of these relates, of course, to the development of better debating. It has been a criticism of the World's format in the past that debaters, teams and coaches have almost no access to the kind of constructive criticism that would allow them to hone their skills during the preliminary rounds of the competition. Moreover, teams could only guess at how well they were doing during this stage, based primarily on the kind of company they were debating in as the early rounds progressed.

With the introduction of an oral adjudication, delivered by the Chairperson, at the end of a debate, the debaters will know their finishing position (first to last) and the points (3 to 0) that they will have been awarded for that particular debate. Similarly, the adjudication will indicate how and why the adjudicators have arrived at their decision and precisely what teams and individual speakers did well, and what they did not do so well (constructive criticism). The oral adjudication then provides debaters with exactly the kind of constructive criticism that they need.

The second group of objectives relates to the development and refinement of adjudication at Worlds. Oral adjudication provides an insight into the way that adjudicators observe and adjudicate debates; one that will not only benefit debaters, but also adjudicators. The discussion leading to the decision-making stage gains a new importance as the Chair now has to advance the collective opinions of the panel in order to justify the unanimous or consensus decisions that are made when the feedback is given. This encourages all of the adjudicators on a panel to be particularly considerate and careful in the processes of observation, recording, decision-making, justification and tabulation.


3.1 Pre-Competition Workshops

In every major international competition these days, all those registered as adjudicators for the duration of the competition will have to attend a seminar/workshop. It is important that you attend this seminar, even though you have a wealth of experience in World's adjudication. This is because the Chief Adjudicator for the competition will have certain specific things that he/she will want you to focus upon in your adjudication and, as these will differ in perspective from previous competitions that you have attended, you will need to know them too.

Similarly, once you register as an adjudicator, you can expect to adjudicate in all of the preliminary rounds of that competition. If you are adjudicating well, and the feedback that the Chief Adjudicator's Panel is getting on your post-debate discussions is good, then you might be honored with selection to adjudicate after the break. In this light, once you register as an adjudicator, you should commit yourself to acquitting that responsibility until the Chief Adjudicator indicates that your services are no longer required. This means turning up to every briefing on time and in an appropriate physical and mental state.

3.2 Rules and Regulations

As an adjudicator, you should take some to familiarize yourself with the rules of the competition. Any questions that you think you might want to ask during the seminar should be noted down, no matter how silly you might think them to be. Even if you don't ask them during the seminar proper, you can always approach one of the adjudication panel immediately after the seminar is over.

3.3 Testing and Accreditation

Each of these pre-competition seminars will end in an examination or test. This commonly takes the form of an adjudication of a live exhibition debate, staged there and then, or the observation and assessment of prerecorded videotape of a selected World's style match. At the end of the test-debate, you will be given some time to go through your notes, arrive at a decision (finishing positions) and then give your justification for this in written form. Your familiarity with Worlds’ Rules will also be tested. This will result in your name joining a pool of adjudicators with similar levels of skill, something which will in turn permit the Panel adjudicator in charge of the adjudicators tab to balance the panels (members) in terms of experience and skills.


4.1 Getting There

Adjudicators should get into the habit of carrying around what might be recognized as 'the tools of the trade', or an adjudicator's kit, if you prefer. At the very least, this must consist of a pad of paper and a writing implement. A watch is fairly essential. You should have a digital watch if no stopwatch is available to you, just so that you can time speeches for yourself.

You will be part of a briefing that precedes each and every round. This is your opportunity to ask the Chief Adjudicator and members of his/her panel for any further clarification of the rules, their application and for help in solving any problems that you are having in your adjudication of your rounds. This also an opportunity to address your particular concerns to that same panel. Similarly, listen to any announcements regarding adjudication processes that are made during these briefings.

At some time during the briefing, the match-ups will be either displayed on a screen (via OHP transparency or 'Power Point' slides), or photocopies of the draw will be handed out. These lists will tell you which room you will be adjudicating in, who will be on the panel with you and which one of you will be chairing the panel. You will also know which teams you will be adjudicating and the respective positions that they will be debating in.

The other things that you should consider, as the list of matches is revealed;

1.     Whether there is a potential conflict of interests created because you have been scheduled to adjudicate your own university, or people with whom you have relationships that are likely to bias your judgment.

2.     Whether you have adjudicated one or more of the teams in the forthcoming round more than twice in succession.

3.     Whether there are other things that make the potential adjudication of that match difficult for you, and therefore likely to affect your adjudication of the round.

4.     Raise these concerns with either the Chief Adjudicator, or one of his/her panel of deputies, as soon as you recognize them.

At the appointed time, the motion will be released to both debaters and adjudicators. You should write this down as well, checking to make sure that you have the exact wording, as it is given. Debates should commence fifteen minutes after the motion has been announced (Worlds’ Rulebook 3:1.3), so you should arrive at the venue of your match at least two or three minutes before that.

When the time has come for the debate to start, the Chair of the panel of adjudicators should start things off by calling teams into the room and saying something like, "I call this house to order". The Chair may then make some opening remarks.
The panel member responsible for timing speeches starts his or her watch as soon as the speaker starts speaking (not as soon as he or she stands up, clears the throat or shuffles some papers).

4.2 Being There

From that point onwards, the debate progresses with speakers being thanked for speaking by the Chair (functioning as nominal Speaker of the House) as they conclude their speeches, and subsequent speakers being introduced by title, position or name, or combinations of these, as their turn comes to speak.

The panel member responsible for keeping time should try to give clearly audible signals (Worlds’ Rulebook 4:1.6). A sharp slap or knock on a flat surface (such as a table or a book-rest) with the flat of the hand will normally suffice. If a speaker begins to run overtime, it is not necessary to knock continuously, or otherwise signal that the prescribed optimum time is being exceeded. Good time management should be the responsibility of individual speakers and their teams, not the timekeeper. In this regard, it might be a good idea for the Chair of the panel to remind speakers during the opening commentary that it is acceptable for speakers to receive time signals from their teammates.

Other than these invitations, thanks and time-signals, the adjudicators do not interfere in the debate, being involved in taking notes which detail the process and progress of the debate and observing those aspects detailed in the Worlds’ Rulebook 8-12: 3.1-4.4. The only time at which an interjection may become necessary from the Chair of the panel is in the event that teams or individuals are becoming unacceptably and inappropriately obtrusive during the speeches of other members. This will be times at which the members not holding the floor have begun to indulge in behavior that amounts to things like heckling, barracking and the advancement of otherwise malicious interruptions in the speech of the member holding the floor.

It should be noted that these terms are subjective, and that the competition attracts many different styles of debating which are acceptable and appropriate in such a forum (Worlds’ Rulebook 11: 4.4.2). However, when adjudicators on a panel begin to feel that the manner of members is becoming inappropriate in such cases, then the issuance of a verbal warning to that effect, directed towards the individual, team or bench that is behaving in such a way, allows those thus warned to amend such behavior before adjudicators begin to penalize them for the perceived breach of debating decorum. At this point, the Chair may call for“order” to be restored to the round. In this way, a clear signal is sent to those verging on the offensive and they have the option to curtail that behavior before it begins to affect their own team's manner marks.

Remember that what is, or is not, acceptable to you in this context is largely a matter of common sense, but it is better to send a clear signal to debaters in danger of overstepping these bounds before it starts affecting their marks/grades for the debate and allow them the benefit of the doubt up to that point.

If you are concerned that someone has overstepped these bounds, whether subjective or not, discuss this matter with the others on your panel at the conclusion of the debate before you reach a hard and fast conclusion.

4.3 Note-taking and making

The note-taking/making process is an important one. Not only should such notes provide you with a fairly complete description of the debate after it has been concluded, it should also present you with concrete reasons why you have reached your own particular conclusions as to how individual speakers and each of the four teams has performed. You should try to record, for example, the degree to which individuals we keeping in touch with the dynamics of the debate through things like POIs and intersections. You should also be able to indicate, within a particular speech, whether POls have been accepted, when, what they consisted of and how the speaker holding the floor at the time responded to them.

You should also be able to track the logic and flow of an argument or idea through your own notation and determine whether statements have been left largely unsupported (asserted) (Worlds’ Rulebook 8: 3.3), whether speeches have a reasonable balance and are consistent (Worlds’ Rulebook 8: 3.3.3-3.3.4) and whether speakers have misrepresented things said earlier in the debate, among other things.

An individual adjudicator’s approach to note taking is likely to be markedly different from person to person. The main thing is that you develop a means of accurately charting what has happened in the debate.

4.4 The Observation Process

The observation process is also important. You should be watching how readily a speaker's manner develops a rapport with the audience (if any - or your panel, if not), how she or he stands, gesticulates and is expressive during the delivery of their speech. Similarly, you should watch for things such as how members not holding the floor continue to communicate with each other during the course of the debate and maintain contact with it through the POI and more general interaction (appropriate reactions to statements being made; laughter, etc.).

4.5 Conclusion of the Round

When the last speaker has concluded his/her remarks and retaken his/her seat, it is customary for the Speaker, or Chair of Adjudicators (in the event that he/she is taking the role of the Speaker of the House) to give the debaters "permission to cross the floor". This is so that teams can shake hands and congratulate each other on a successful debate.
It is pertinent at this point to tell members that they can withdraw while a decision is made by adjudicators, in which case they must all withdraw until asked to return to the room.


5.1 The Integrity of Opinions, Decisions and Processes

Either way, the discussion that is then held between adjudication panel members is confidential, and its course and specifics should not be made known to individual debaters. This confidentiality is essential if adjudicators are to maintain a degree of professionalism, and neither to undermine, nor be undermined by, their fellow adjudicators.

Consensus decisions are exactly that. Different adjudicators see debates in different ways. That's exactly why we have panels of adjudicators. However, we should avoid making individual perceptions about a particular debate, or a particular adjudicator, common knowledge. This in no way restricts the kind of advice that you may be asked for by a particular speaker or team: it merely asks of you that you are considerate of your colleagues in advancing your own comments and suggestions.

5.2 Arriving at a Decision

At the end of the debate, your panel begins the process of discussion and decision-making. While the following is not presented as either a schedule or a checklist for this process, it is clear that these major components will each have to feature somewhere in the process of your deliberations.

5.3 Time to Reflect

The first thing that should happen, after the debaters, audience and television crew (it happens!) have left the room, is that the panelists should take a few minutes to review their notes before any form of discussion begins. During this 'quiet time' individual panelists should highlight items, arguments, comments and so on, that they consider to be critical in terms of the debate, its outcomes and their respective decisions.

1.     Don’t let any of your preconceptions or individual knowledge on the motion affect the outcome of the round. It is absolutely unacceptable for a judge to say, “If I were in the round, this is what I would have said. And since they failed to bring that up, they should be penalized for it.” Your decision should not be based on what wasn’t or what should have been what said, but ONLY on what was said by the debaters during the round.

2.     Don't let any of your preconceptions about the degree of difficulty imposed bv the wording of the motion on teams (on either side) create notions of sympathy which then bias your grading in their favor (or against them).

3.     Do consider each team (and speaker) as having a specific range of roles that they must fulfill in the debate. Teams and speakers have responsibilities and roles which are often markedly different, but nonetheless vital to the successful progress of a debate.

4.     Don't lose sight of the balance in an individual speech. There should be a natural and appropriate portion of time devoted to definitions, rebuttal arguments, the development of arguments in support of a case, summaries, and responses to questions and challenges. A speaker who spends six minutes haranguing the opposition and only starts on his or her portion of the split as the second single knock of the gavel sounds is not delivering a very balanced speech! Keep an eye on the watch as speakers move through transitions from one phase of a speech to another. Not all speakers will 'signpost' these transitions, but you must endeavor to recognize them anyway.

5.     Do continually test arguments for their logical development, relevance to the case being presented (or argued against) and the validity of any support (examples, models, statistics, etc.) that is delivered in respect of these arguments.

6.     Don't ignore cries of misrepresentation, squirreling, self-serving definitions, slides and so on. Check these claims against your notes before you judge them to have been validly or invalidly made.

7.     Do enjoy the debate, but don't communicate anything specific to the debaters as you observe it and take notes. This is sometimes as innocent as an inadvertent nod of the head at the moment that a speaker advances the weakest argument in the history of parliamentary debating, but the apparently duplicitous nod suddenly makes it appear to be potentially the best one, and suddenly the whole complexion of the debate changes. The key here is to be sufficiently conscious of your own body language and reactions to keep them consistent with the kind of normal reaction that a speaker is trying to evoke (laughter, seriousness, etc.).

8.     Don't get too caught up with technicalities, minor infringements of the rules as you interpret them, or pet likes and dislikes. You should be viewing the debate from the macro-level as much as from the level of its sophistication, its intricacies and technical complexity. An adjudicator who penalizes a speaker for '...gesticulating with their left hand too much', or wearing a blouse that clashes with their handbag, is definitely missing the point somewhere.

5.4 Panel Decisions

1.     Panel Decisions are final

2.     Panels have to place the four teams in the debate round, as 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. 1st ranked team has won the round, and the 4th ranked team has finished last in the debate round.

3.     No two teams can be placed in the same rank

4.     The total team scores must reflect the rankings of the team, and no two teams should have the same total team scores.

5.     A Consensus decision is when all members of the panel agree on the rank of a team.

§  A complete consensus decision is when every single team rank has been decided through a series of consensus decisions amongst the panel members. The panel therefore had complete unanimity over all the team ranking decisions.

6.     A majority decision is when a majority of the panel members agree on the rank of a team.

§  A complete majority decision is when every single team rank has been decided only by majority decisions.

7.     A partial Consensus-Majority decision is when the panel is in consensus over some rank/s and made majority decisions over the other rank/s.

8.     There can be either a complete consensus decision, a complete majority decision or a partial Consensus-Majority decision.

9.     A panel should discuss all pertinent issues of the debate adequately, and deal with all concerns of panel members.

10.  Chairs have the discretion to end discussions on particular issues or on the whole debate, if they find the discussion to cease being constructive or not progress.

5.5 Panel Members

1.     Members should contribute constructively and the chair of the panel is obliged to promote fair exchange of ideas on the debate, amongst panel members.

2.     Panel members should provide their brief read of the debate, focusing on their main concerns and observations before the panel tries to reach a decision

3.     Panels are encouraged to arrive at a consensus, however the final decision to cast a vote is the privy of individual panel members. Panel members should vote according to their conscience, and not according to expediency.

4.     A panel member can shift positions on an issue or the whole debate during/after the discussion process, because the discussion has convinced them it is appropriate to shift position. Panel members are warned not to shift positions purely because of the experience, reputation and intimidation of any panel members or panel chair.

5.6 Chair of panel

1.     Assumes the role of facilitator, mediator and leader of panel.

2.     Have NOT failed to fulfill their roles if there is no complete consensus decision or if they find themselves in the minority of a majority decision.

3.     Should encourage panel members to offer their opinion or observations of the debate.

4.     Have to respect the views of all members of the panel.

5.     Should organize the thread of discussion, in order to cover all concerns of panel members as much as possible.

6.     Use discretion when ending a discussion on a particular issue or the debate as a whole, and resort to a vote.

5.7 Agreeing on grades for speakers and teams

Panelists should then move on to confer on grades for teams and speakers. You should reach agreement on these things if you can, because it makes the work of the tabulation crew that much less complicated, and they can look forward to living longer and more productive lives. While the rules allow for a degree of flexibility within the grade bandwidths that you have already decided upon, you've managed to achieve consensus thus far, so why not push your luck a little further!
One way to approach this is to try and agree on the standard of the debate as a whole. As the power-matching software starts to spread things out nice and evenly after about round three, you should find this progressively easier to do as the competition goes on, because there should be an increasing level of similarity in the strengths and skills of teams debating in each match. Remember that you still have a little flexibility within a particular grade (or band) in terms of the marks that can be awarded to an individual speaker, so you can still use this range to reflect your own opinions. However, remember also that the marks of the two speakers, when added together, must still equate with the overall grade that has been agree for the team.

5.8 Filling in adjudication sheets

At this point, the panelists can begin to fill in their adjudication sheets, with perhaps one last communal cheek through what has been agreed and what the final decision is, just to make absolutely sure. It may also be a good idea at this stage for the Chair to ask for any points that the panelists would like incorporated into the oral adjudication of the debate.

1.     Decide on finishing positions.

2.     Fill in the Speed Ballot form [Chair].

3.     Check that the Speed Ballot has been filled in correctly [Panelists].

4.     Summon a 'runner'.

5.     Send the Speed Ballot off to the Tab Room.

6.     Decide team grades.

7.     Contribute and summarize points to be included in the feedback.

8.     Call teams back into the room.

9.     Commence the oral adjudication.

10.  Fill in the adjudication sheets, completing all mark and grade boxes and appending comments where relevant or required.

11.  Give all the completed forms to a runner before you leave the room, floor or area.

12.  Once members have settled again, the Chair will then begin the oral


While the broad categories of “matter” and “manner” serve as touchstones for evaluation, they focus mainly on assessing the qualities of an individual’s performance in the round. Manner is concerned with the style and structure of a speaker’s presentation—delivery, organization, and language use—while matter is concerned with the content and analysis of an individual’s presentation—that a speaker’s arguments are relevant, logical and consistent with his or her team’s or side’s positions.

While useful, these categories do not provide the adjudicator guidance on how to weigh competing lines of argument. Though the adjudication of a Worlds round does not require that the adjudicators declare a winning “side” in the debate, the debaters involved will almost unfailingly be concerned with whether the Government or Opposition prevailed on the question. Moreover, successful adjudication of a round in the Worlds style—that is, the ranking of teams from best to worst—must be concerned with the comparison of each team’s positions relative to the other teams’ positions.

Adjudicators, both when adjudicating the debate and when articulating the panel’s decision to the debaters in the oral adjudication, should pay particular attention to three elements of the argument: the issue over which the debate is contested; the standard by which the arguments on either side of the issue may be assessed; and the appraisal of each team’s arguments relative to that standard.

6.1 Identifying the Issue

All debates may be characterized as a clash of arguments over an issue—some statement that serves as the ideological dividing line between Government and Opposition argumentative ground. Identifying the issue in a debate is the first step toward successfully adjudicating the competing arguments in the round.

Ideally, the issue is made clear early in the debate, either by the motion or by the Government. The majority of Worlds-style debates will have as their central issue the motion as announced. This is particularly true when the motion is exceptionally clear: “This house believes that making Yassar Arafat a partner in peace was a mistake” or “This house would make company directors criminally liable for the wrongs of their companies” are examples of motions that define clear ground for the Government and Opposition and, therefore, serve as the primary issue in the debate.

Other motions are less useful as issue statements. Motions that allow the Government room to interpret the topic and define the focus of the debate are less likely to function as issue statements. A motion such as “This house believes that religious leaders should listen to public opinion” may be supported by a general case in which a Government offers arguments that clergy should be responsive to their followers or it may motivate a Government to run a specific case that is derived from the motion. When presented with the motion above, for example, the Government could choose to run a case that argues the Catholic church should be more proactive in acknowledging and addressing issues of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests. When the Government chooses to define a case that is more specific than the motion offered, the central issue in the round typically is the thesis of the case offered by the Government, not the motion itself.

While the issue statement will usually be explicit in the round, there will be cases in which neither side makes apparent the central issue in the round. In this case, the adjudicator must articulate an issue as a starting point for his or her adjudication. When doing so, an adjudicator should phrase an issue statement that is clear and balanced. To be clear, an issue statement should define ground for both the Government and Opposition team in a way that makes obvious their responsibilities. A balanced issue statement will avoid expressing the controversy in a way that might be weighted toward one side or the other.

6.2 Determining the Appropriate Standard for Evaluation

In all decisions, the adjudicator will utilize some criterion or criteria to make his or her assessment of the arguments advanced by the debaters. For example, when adjudicating a debate on the motion “This House believes the International Monetary Fund has done more to harm than help the global condition,” an adjudicator must be able to determine how to evaluate relatively the instances of the IMF “harming” and “helping” the global condition as argued by the debaters. Should impact to local economies be prioritized over facilitating the transition to a global economy? Should concern for effects on the environment and workers’ rights be subjugated to the long-term benefits of capitalism? How should the deterioration of state sovereignty be weighed against the benefits of global trading opportunities?

The issue statement for the debate will usually contain some term or phrase that will serve as the standard for evaluating the competing arguments of each side. This term or phrase typically expresses some evaluation of the subject under consideration. Consider the previously mentioned motion: “This house believes that making Yassar Arafat a partner in peace was a mistake.” In this example, the term that proposes an evaluation of Arafat’s performance is “mistake.”In other words, to evaluate the competing arguments in the round, the adjudicator will employ as his or her standard whether the examples of Arafat’s performance offered by each side constitute a “mistake.” For this term to function as a standard, the adjudicator must know what constitutes a“mistake.” For the IMF motion, the adjudicator must understand what is meant by “the global condition” before he or she may determine which side has best substantiated the impact of the IMF on the global condition. Thus, the nature and definition of the “global condition” becomes the standard for evaluating the competing arguments.

In an ideal situation, the debaters would make clear the standard to be used to weigh competing arguments in the round. The definition of the pertinent term or phrase would be made clear by the Government side and their all arguments would be made relevant to that definition. Similarly, the Opposition would recognize the Government’s definition and orient their arguments toward that standard as well. For example, if “mistake” in the Arafat motion was defined as“anything that has served to impede the progress toward peace,” both the Government and Opposition would align their arguments for Arafat’s influence with an eye toward proving that his presence has affected—either positively or negatively—the progress toward peace.

More typically, however, both sides in a round will have competing standards for evaluating their arguments. With the IMF motion, the Government may defend the escalating Gross Domestic Product of IMF beneficiaries while the Opposition may argue that the austerity measures imposed by the IMF cause significant damage to social programs. Without a clear standard advanced by either side, the adjudicator is left to decide how to evaluate these competing positions. In cases where the respective sides in the debate have failed to “agree” on a particular standard, the adjudicator must determine the standard for evaluating the competing arguments.
When determining a standard, the adjudicator should acknowledge the Government’s responsibility to define the terms of the motion. Assuming that the Government has defined the terms, particularly the term or phrase that will serve as the standard for the competing arguments, some presumption should be given their definition regardless of whether the Opposition chooses to orient their arguments toward that standard. The criteria of clarity and balance applied to the issue statement are also relevant to the definitions offered by the Government: any definition of a standard should increase the clarity of the debate and should not exclude the potential for Opposition argument.

Frequently, however, the Government will fail to define the pertinent term or phrase and the adjudicator will be required to extract a standard for evaluation from the arguments made by both sides in the debate. In the IMF example, the arguments that a beneficiary country’s GDP has improved following IMF intervention and that austerity measures have had a detrimental impact on the social welfare of a country may both be true. The adjudicator must then decide how to compare the competing arguments. Ideally, the debaters will give cues on how to do so in their own argumentation. In this instance, the arguments relevant in the round are focused on the effect of IMF involvement on the beneficiary country. While this may not evaluate the consequences of IMF actions on “the global condition” as most would understand the “global condition” (i.e.: as more broad reaching than the effect of the IMF on a single country) it is what the debaters have opted to focus on. To penalize either side for failing to make the arguments the adjudicator believes would be most appropriate is not sound adjudication.

In such a case, directed by the arguments the debaters have made, the adjudicator may extract a standard of “impact to the beneficiary country.”He or she would then evaluate competing arguments about the benefits or harms of IMF involvement from the perspective of how those outcomes may affect a beneficiary country.

6.3 Appraising the Arguments

Once a standard has been determined, the adjudicator must compare the arguments made in the round to that standard. At this point, the adjudicator should appraise each argument for its relevance to the standard. That relevance may be measured in two ways.

Initially, relevance may be measured from a quantitative perspective. The adjudicator may appraise a side’s arguments for the impact the totality of those arguments has on the standard. More positions relevant to the standard, using a strict quantitative perspective, mean that a particular side should prevailed. If the Government offers five examples of how Arafat’s presence has diminished the prospects for peace to the Opposition’s two examples of how Arafat has improved the prospects for peace, the Government would likely prevail. This perspective, however, has limited utility on its own.

Arguments must also be appraised from a qualitative perspective in which the adjudicator assesses the significance of each argument’s impact to the standard. Some examples or arguments will be more relevant the standard than others. Building off the previous example, the adjudicator may believe that the two arguments offered by the Opposition are more relevant to the standard—perhaps those two examples of how Arafat benefited the peace process were very detailed and specific whereas the Government’s five examples of Arafat’s detractions from the peace process were vague and ill developed. In this case, the Opposition would likely prevail.

Thus, a Worlds round might have a team present seven arguments, but have the opposing team address all of them sufficiently with just one. The most important point here is that the adjudicator account for each major line of argument advanced by the Government and Opposition and assess the merit of each of those arguments relative to the standard.

6.4 Conclusion

This approach to adjudication of the round is most useful for clearly articulating a basis for decision in a verbal adjudication. Verbal adjudications may be structured around these three concepts quite simply.

The Chair of a panel may open an oral adjudication by identifying the issue that divided the Government and Opposition ground in the debate; this may be as simple as saying “The central issue in the round was whether involving Arafat in the peace process was a mistake.” From there, the Chair would articulate the panel’s consensus as to the standard employed for evaluating the competing lines of argument: “The Panel understood that whether Arafat’s involvement would be considered a mistake depended upon whether he had contributed to or detracted from the peace process.” Finally, the Chair would sort through the major lines of argument advanced by each side to offer an appraisal of those each of those arguments relative to this standard.

An oral adjudication structured around these concepts will provide the debaters with the certainty that each of their respective arguments was weighed in the adjudicators’ consideration. That certainty will, in turn, demonstrate that the adjudicators were discharging their duties responsibly.


As with things like note taking, individual adjudicators will each have their own way of giving an oral adjudication.

7.1 Announcing Positions

There is a division of opinion over whether it is best to announce results first and then give the feedback, or whether to give the feedback first and then announce the result. Our advice would be to adopt the former method, because it is questionable how much benefit teams and speakers can get if they are anxiously waiting for the result and you are, unconsciously perhaps, trying to give nothing away.

7.2 Opening Remarks

You may like to preface your remarks with a few comments on the quality and standard of the debate (coming from your discussions on an overall debate grade?). You may also indicate whether there was a unanimous agreement, or whether the panel encountered some resolvable disagreements in the course of its discussion (thereby indicating that the match might well have been very close in some respects).

7.3 The Framework and Content of your Feedback

As with the set-up for a debater's speech, an adjudicator's feedback should have 'matter' and 'manner'. You should also 'structure' your own intended feedback.
Give the finishing order, from team placing first in the debate (and therefore& winning' it), to that placing last.

7.4 The Overview

Then, proceed with the overview of the debate that your panel has assembled during your discussions, but keep it brief. Focus on the definition, the parameters and demands that this set up, the cases and major arguments that followed this, the challenges that these represented and the way that these challenges were met.
You should be able to trace the major issue(s) or themes that ran through the debate through this overview, as well as focusing on the ways in which various teams dealt with these.

7.5 Relative merits of teams, roles, cases, argumentation, etc.

It would then be a good idea to explain exactly why the debate has been awarded to a particular team, and consider the positions of the other teams relative to this. The reasons why teams have finished in the particular order that you have determined should then follow, with the relevant explanations offered as you go. You should conclude this phase by summarizing what you have said, but by means of reference to the key arguments and issues that you outlined in your opening commentary. Comments about eye contact, off-key humming and torn jeans are probably not appropriate at this point.

7.6 Concluding

Your adjudication feedback might then move towards a conclusion with any specific comments on the roles, performance and style of individual speakers being offered. However, this should only be necessary in the event that an individual's speech has affected the debate, or a team's role, in a particularly critical way. Please try to keep your remarks in these cases constructively critical, perhaps softening what might be construed as negative criticism by picking out some positive aspects as well and mentioning them.


The main thing is that you enjoy the experience of adjudicating at Worlds and profit from this in the context of your own development as an adjudicator, and perhaps even as a debater. It comes down to one thing: common sense. If you continually apply that particular quality to the process of running, observing, discussing and assessing the debates that you will see, it will not only be you that gains. The debaters, the organizers and the competition that is Worlds Universities Debating will profit too.

The Adjudication Check-list

1.     The phases of a debate adjudication : Observing the debate (which includes chairing and time-keeping if necessary), Discussion of the debate ( a session led by the chair of the panel) and giving the oral adjudication ( announce decision, provide reasons for decision and offer advice to debaters). The final phase is excluded for the final three preliminary rounds and the final series.

2.     Observing the debate

o    Chairing the debate also includes the responsibility of keeping order in the debate, inviting speakers to speak and cautioning against inappropriate behavior when warranted.

3.     Discussing the debate

o    Matter and Manner contribution of each team should be discussed (along with Points of Information- as in the quality of the questions and the responses to them, which possesses both manner and matter elements)

o    All members of the panel are obliged to provide their read of the debate, and listen to the various views of the other members of the panel.

o    Chairs of panel should drive the discussion and attempt to move it forward. Use their discretion to end dead discussions and allow all panel members equal access to the discussion.

4.     Oral Adjudication

o    Presented by the chair of the panel, or a member of the majority, if the chair is dissenting.

o    Announce the rankings before explaining the verdict (encouraged), if not the explanation would ambiguous and not constructive.

o    Explain to the debaters, why the panel/majority decided the team ranking in that order, so debaters can understand how the adjudicators distinguished the teams in terms of contribution and delivery.

o    Provide constructive advice (drawn collectively from the panel) for the debaters.