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So what do we do? There are two different kinds of debate and 12 different individual events we participate in. Here's the simple version of what we do—the more detailed descriptions can be found on the various organization websites.

Parliamentary Debate (Parli): Two students work together in a form of debate based loosely on the British Parliament. They have 15 minutes to prepare a case on a topic that is revealed at the start of the round.
Lincoln-Douglas: We participate in the National Forensics Association (NFA) Lincoln-Douglas debate. Students compete as individuals against debaters from other teams. This year's topic will deal with the role of the U.S. Southern Command in Latin America.
Policy Debate: We don't participate in two-person college policy at this time. If you want to learn more, we suggest you consult the CEDA (Cross-Examination Debate Association) or the NDT (National Debate Tournament) websites for more information. Lincoln-Douglas on the college level is one-person policy.

The individual events are divided into three categories: interpretation, limited prep., and public address:

Interpretation Events (Interp)
All the interpretation events are performed with the script in front of you. Your program is up to 10 minutes.

  • Dramatic Interpretation: Similar to solo drama. You perform multiple characters from a stage play or screenplay.
  • Poetry: You perform one or several poems, organized around a theme or author.
  • Prose: You perform sections of essays or short stories.
  • Oral Interpretation: You perform two of the three genres (prose, poetry, drama) in a program organized around a theme. You can even perform your own original literature—but only if you want to (and only one piece).
  • Duo Interpretation: You work with a partner. Both of you perform from a stage play or screenplay, or a program of literature around a theme. Duo predominantly uses off-stage focus (not looking at each other). Movement is allowed.
  • Reader's Theater: Three or more people work together on a script that can last up to 25 minutes.

Limited Preparation Events
There are two kinds of limited preparation events.

  • Extemporaneous Speaking: You have 30 minutes to prepare a 7-minute speech on a topic in current events. We keep files of research to help you in preparing.
  • Impromptu Speaking: You have 7 minutes to divide between preparing the speech and giving the speech. Topics can be quotations, cartoons, posters, objects, etc.

Public Address Events
There are several different public address events.

  • Informative: A 10-minute speech designed to inform an audience. The speech is memorized and uses a variety of sources.
  • Persuasive: A 10-minute speech where you identify a problem and present a solution to that problem on both an individual level and a larger level.
  • After Dinner: A 10-minute speech where your goal is to illustrate a serious topic through the use of humor.
  • Rhetorical Criticism/Communication Analysis: This is an event unique to the college level. You take a speaker or speech or movement—any critical artifact—and analyze it through a critical methodology.

If you want to learn the exact rules, the NFA website has them both for individual events and Lincoln-Douglas and debate. The National Parliamentary Debate Association website has the rules for debating as well. Note: the NFA website doesn't list descriptions for Oral Interp. since that event isn't done at the NFA National tournament. The AFA-NIET (American Forensics Association National Individual Events Tournament) website has the complete rules for Points of Information (POI), and the Phi Rho Pi site has the rules for Readers' Theater (scroll down to Interpreter's Theater).

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