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Debate Format Reading

The format of a Public Forum debate is relatively simple.

Two debaters compete against two debaters to determine the resolution.

The topic the students will debate about is chosen in advance, either by the tournament by a regional or national debate association. In the United States, the Public Forum debate topics are chosen each month by the National Speech and Debate Association.

Unlike other debate formats, the students are not assigned a specific side when the schedule for the debates is released. On the schedules, debaters as simply assigned a room, an opponent, and a judge.

When all four debaters and the judges reach the room, two of the debaters from one of the teams will flip a coin and the other team will call which side they think the coin will land on. The winner of the coin toss can pick either the side of the resolution they wish to defend or if they will speak first or last. If the winner picks the side, the other teams gets to pick if they will speak first or last. If the winner picks first or last, the other team gets to pick the side of the resolution.

After this process is complete, the judge will mark down on the ballot which side each team is on, which team will speak first, and which team will speak last. After this i

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