Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Parker, M. Jack

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Speech Communication


Debates and debating


This thesis involved an examination of the arguments presented by the debaters in two intercollegiate debates. The primary focus of the examination was to discover and describe the attempts made by the debaters, if any, to show the relationship of their arguments to a rationale for the acceptance or rejection of the resolution. The method of this study involved the tape-recording of two debates at a major intercollegiate debate tournament. After these debates were transcribed into a manuscript, each argument was isolated for consideration. Each argument was examined separately in terms of any possible relation to the resolution, whether explicit or implicit. First, each argument was examined to discover any attempts to relate the argument to a relevant issue. Second, if the argument was not related to an issue, the writer described any explicit attempt which was made to show the relationship of the argument to the resolution. Third, if no explicit attempt was made to show the relevance of an argument, the writer examined the argument for an implied relationship. Fourth, the writer made note of attempts of any other kind. The results of this examination revealed that, of those arguments which were related to the resolution by the speaker, most were related, through the relationship of the argument to some issue relevant to the evaluation of a proposition of policy. These issues in most cases were stock issues. In other arguments, the issue of topicality served the purpose of relating an argument to the proposition. In other cases, a subordinate argument was related to the resolution by relating it to the major argument which was related through one of the stock issues, A number of arguments were also found to bear no relationship whatsoever to a rationale for accepting or rejecting the resolution. This particular study was merely an attempt to describe the attempts made by debaters to relate their arguments to the proposition. These findings, therefore, were merely accounts of what debaters did and were not meant as general conclusions which could be universally applied to intercollegiate debate. However, based on the results, several subjective implications were noted. These implications dealt with the effectiveness with which these relationships were expressed.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [147]-149)


209 pages




Northern Illinois University

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