Team Policy Debate
In policy debate, competitors either advocate or oppose a resolution that calls for a change in policy regarding a current political issue. The 2016-2017 policy debate topic is “Resolved: The United States Federal Government should substantially reform its policies toward the People’s Republic of China.” During a round of debate, a team of two debaters will advocate the resolution by proposing a specific plan to accomplish the goal stated in the resolution while another team of two debaters will oppose the resolution and the specific plan of the first team. In a debate tournament, each team will take turns advocating and opposing the resolution in a series of different rounds so that competitors thoroughly learn all the issues involved in the debate as well as the skills to either advocate or oppose a proposition.
NCFCA debate encourages a conversational style of debate and utilizes judges from the community (as well as debate coaches and teachers) in order to ensure that competitors learn how to communicate to a general audience.
Lincoln Douglas Debate
Although Douglas and Lincoln debated matters of policy, the core of their advocacy always involved a clash of values. Thus, in NCFCA, Lincoln Douglas debate resolutions are always constructed to create a clash of competing values rather than the adoption of a specific policy. The 2016-2017 Lincoln Douglas debate topic is “Resolved: Rehabilitation ought to be valued above retribution in criminal justice systems.” Rather than arguing about a specific course of action the government should take, Lincoln Douglas debaters look at the values that always underlie policy decisions.
Lincoln Douglas debate is similar to policy debate in that competitors will take turns advocating or opposing a resolution throughout a series of rounds during a tournament. However, the Lincoln Douglas debate format in one-on-one debating, named after the famous debates between Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln.