Module 2:

Top Half Comparisons

In this module, we discuss how to compare directly between teams, using a top half clash to illustrate these principles. Of course, this will be useful for any comparison between teams in BP debating. By the end of this module, you should have a basic understanding of how to approach such comparisons, by being able to evaluate the arguments and rebuttal offered by either team.

Theory videos

As a starting point, the first video for this module provides a basic introduction to making comparisons, and explains why and how we use clashes to inform our understanding of the debate we have just watched.

Following up from that, we get into thinking through specific clashes. We discuss how to evaluate a team's contributions to a clash, and how to prioritise between different clashes when evaluating the top half. 

En Ting was a DCA at WUDC 2019, and appointed CA for WUDC 2022.

Next, we discuss rebuttal and how to evaluate it. We talk through different types of rebuttal, and how to evaluate rebuttal in the different circumstances and situations where it can emerge in the debate.

Harish Natarajan was a CA at WUDC 2014.

We also set aside some time for evaluating principled arguments and how they interact with more practical or outcome-based claims in debates.

Milos is a DCA at WUDC 2021 and appointed CA at WUDC 2022.

In our final theory video, we explained where judges should not excessively intervene in a debate to decide the round, but equally the scenarios where doing so was reasonable and required.

Teck Wei is a DCA at WUDC 2021.

Practical example

To apply these lessons, we recorded a top half debate, and enlisted the help of some volunteers within the community to judge it alongside Milos, who was chairing the panel. We recorded their deliberation so you can see a practical example of how to apply the principles to the specifics of the round.

 

We recommend that you watch the debate beforehand and note your own thoughts about the round. Next, watch the panel deliberation and see where it diverged (or not) from your own reasoning. Finally, Milos, as chair of the panel, delivers an oral adjudication speech to summarise the discussion.

Answering your questions...

We believe that a good training programme should, wherever possible, be a conversation. At the end of each module, we want to answer some commonly asked questions from the community. By sharing these answers on this page, we hope that your questions (and our answers) will make this resource even more useful over time.

There's nothing here...?

That's because we've just started receiving questions and feedback from you. We hope to update this section soon. In the meantime, you can help by asking questions about any of our modules here.

Assessment

We are also considering giving formal credit for those that will watch all the videos i.e. newer WUDC judges will get to claim a completion of the series as part of their CV for WUDC. Many judges do not come from established circuits or have access to the ample opportunities that come from being in such a circuit.

 

A certification can serve as an equaliser for those that have fewer chances to participate in tournaments and judge with highly trained adjudicators. Completing the assessment pieces for each module will contribute to our formal credit/certification scheme once it is finalised.

The assessment exercise for this module on top half comparisons can be found here.

Feedback?

If you have any feedback about the programme, or suggestions for future topics we should cover, you can submit that here.

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