Ultimate Guide to Debate Resources

Beginning in Ancient Greece, debate created a forum to present controversial topics in a structured manner and argue them with the goal of a final resolution. Today, an example of a modern-day resolution may be a presidential candidate proving that he or she is the best choice for the highest political office or a high school debate team proving that their overall rhetoric and logic is superior to the other competing teams. However, we don’t have prove anything with this guide. Instead, we will offer you the indisputable facts: Below, you’ll find 40 handpicked, high-quality resources that will allow you to do things such as learn a basic understanding of the types and components of debate, prepare yourself to debate with success, give you an opportunity to vote on controversial online debate issues and much, much more.

General Debate Resources

This section of general resources includes links to videos of actual debates, breathing exercises for more efficient speaking, debate tips and tricks and more.

Debate.org – Join this free online community to find out the opinions of others, form your own opinion and cast your vote on the most controversial topics.

The Economist: Debates – The debates that take place and are archived on this site use the Oxford style of debating applied to participants in an online forum.

The Twelve Best Debate Tips We’ve Ever Heard – Plenty of debate tips are floating around out there, but these are considered some of the best by the Debate Central website.

Breathing is the Key to Persuasive Public Speaking – Find out how to use breathing techniques to be able to speak in a confident tone that people tune in to.

Debating Hints and Tips – Samantha Starkey, crowned World Champion of Public Speaking and Debate in 2015, gives helpful tips on how to improve your debating skills.

Quick Tips for Winning Debates – Check out this helpful resource to learn how to get judges to vote for you during a debate round.


Debate Format Resources

While this is not an exhaustive list of debate format resources, many of the most popular forms of debate are included here.

Lincoln-Douglas Format – Lincoln-Douglas debating is a popular high school debate format. Each side has one debater and they focus on competing values.

Traditional Debate Format – During a round of debate in the Traditional format, each team member delivers a constructive speech and a rebuttal speech.

Team Policy Debate Format – This format is often practiced in high school settings. Each side has two debaters, so a total of four people are participants.

Parliamentary Debate Format – Parliamentary debate consists of two students who support the government side and two students who support the opposition side.

Oxford-Style Debate – Find out the modified rules and structure for the Oxford-Style debate.


Debate Study Resources

This section includes self-study resources to help you increase your debating skill sets through study guides and other learning aids.

Everyday Debate – This blog by James Kellams, a debate coach, is targeted at high school debate coaches and their students.

Speech and Debate Terms for Study – Follow this link to find 61 debate terms and definitions that are in online flashcard format.

Learning Classic Debate – Within the 38 pages of this seven-chapter guide, find helpful information to prepare you for Classic Debate competition.

Debate Vision – Find plenty of videos of actual debate rounds and lectures over various topics in different academic settings.

Learn to Debate – This link directs you to resources organized by different types of debating formats such as American Parliamentary, American Lincoln-Douglas and more.

10 Things Debaters Should Know About Economics – Via this resource, debaters can learn how to use economic ideas in debates that are not based on economics.

12 Things Debaters Should Know About Law – Learn what you need to know about law and the legal system to stay afloat during legal debate rounds.


Debate Teaching Resources

Preparing students to successfully debate is a task that takes research, a carefully planned curriculum and a methodical approach to learning and practice. Find some helpful resources below to help you achieve your goals.

International Debate Education Association – Recognized as the world’s top provider of debate education, IDEA has a wealth of resources for educators.

Building a Successful Speech and Debate Team – This A to Z guide, written by Brenda Moe, is for the novice speech and debate coach. It covers everything from explaining the speech and debate category to detailing how to prepare for the following year when the current debate season ends.

National Debate Coaches Association – Improve your abilities as a high school coach, and create a more effective learning environment for your students with the coaching resources found at the NDCA.

Essential Tips for Conducting a Class Debate – Learn how to introduce structured, formal debate practices to your students via the best practices detailed here.

Debates in the Classroom – Find a variety of debate lesson plans that work well for students in elementary, middle or high school plus a link to a resource page that features rubrics, topics, strategies and rules for classroom debating.

Classroom Debates – This no-prep resource provides some sample topics that you can use with the debate structure detailed on the site.


Logic Resources

When debating, sound logic is key to your success. Educate yourself on the different logical fallacies, and learn how to think more critically about the information you encounter to avoid them.

Recognizing the Top 20 Logical Fallacies – Fallacies are used by those who base their arguments on false or flawed information. Discover the top 20 here.

Logical Fallacies Handlist – This logical fallacies list was organized in categories: fallacies of relevance, component fallacies, fallacies of ambiguity, and fallacies of omission.

Occam’s Razor – This reasoning principle, attributed to William of Ockham, a 14th-century logician and Franciscan monk, states that the principle of the simplest idea must always be the best one.

Thou Shalt Not Commit Logical Fallacies – This website is uniquely designed to educate people on the different logical fallacies. It also offers a helpful and free fallacies poster that can be downloaded and printed in several different sizes.


Rhetoric Resources

Learn more about rhetoric in general, find rhetorical device definitions and examples or learn what’s important when teaching students of rhetoric via this well-rounded section.

Rhetorical Devices – This list of 29 rhetorical devices, including complete definitions, starts with allusion and ends with sarcasm.

The Forest of Rhetoric – This guide has links to explanations for over 100 Greek and Latin rhetorical terms and offers a detailed overview of rhetoric.

Rhetoric – Via this link, find out what rhetoric is, common rhetorical mistakes people make and how rhetoric works.

A Handbook of Rhetorical Devices – Find definitions and examples of 60-plus traditional rhetorical devices, which include rhetorical tropes and figures.

American Rhetoric – Interested in learning more about rhetoric? Or perhaps you’re in need of access to famous historical speeches. This site contains these type of resources and more related to American rhetoric.

What Do Students Need to Know About Rhetoric? – Teachers of rhetoric will appreciate Hepzibah Roskelly’s perspective on what students need to know about the subject.

Aristotle’s Rhetoric – Find a comprehensive overview of Aristotle’s Rhetoric in Stanford’s Encyclopedia of Philosophy, but don’t expect light reading.


Debate-Style Podcasts

Keep your mind engaged throughout the day with the concentrated bursts of information that these debate-style podcasts can provide.

Intelligence Squared – When Forbes recognizes a podcast as one of the “top podcasts to change the way you think,” it serves as a source of intrigue. Find out why by listening to IQ2US, which has presented a plethora of debates on important issues participated in by leading authorities.

Waking Up – This podcast, hosted by Sam Harris – neuroscientist and philosopher – explores issues that are controversial and relevant in today’s world.

We the People  – This podcast broadcasts constitutional debates conducted by Jeffrey Rosen, the National Constitution Center president. The debate participants include attorneys or judges who are well-versed in various constitutional issues.

The Rubin Report – The Rubin Report podcast, which is hosted by Dave Rubin, focuses on “big ideas and free speech.” Discover current and past podcasts on debatable topics that are timely and controversial.