Building a proposition case

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How to make a proposition case is probably the most important question. The debates are good or bad mostly because of the propositions case and the proposition is mostly punished if the judges feel that the debate was bad.

I will write about a plan/model proposition case here, because its most widely used in the British parliamentary debate format. I will prepare another article about the other prop cases.

If we compare the proposition case with a “real” government change in a law/policy, the first question that you need to answer is, why are you doing it. So there must be a problem. And this is the first thing that you should speak about. Is there something wrong in the world? If there is you should spent some time on explaining the problem. Show the judges, that the problem is important and that it should be solved.

After the problem you should propose a solution. In the debate jargon its called a plan or a model (the British or IONA – Islands of the Northern Atlantic use the word model). In this model you should answer a couple of basic questions. Who is going to do it. What he/she/it is going to do it and how it is going to be done. Your plan should be precise, but it should not go into too many details or technicalities. That means that you can specify that a group of experts is going to do something, but you don’t need to name them, or where you are going to find them. The plan should be direct and it should do exactly what the motion says. If you have a closed motion than you can use the wording of the motion for your plan.

After you have proposed a plan/model, all you need to prove is, that it will have benefits, or that there are arguments why you should do that. While learning about how to make a good debate, probably the best advice that I received, how to make an argument is, ask the WHY question. And then some more. And more. Until you get a stupid answer. Example: THBT EU needs a standing army and you run an argument that the EU is going to be more important in the international arena. WHY: Because having an army makes you an important player in the arena. WHY: because if you have an army you can threat other countries. WHY: because you can bomb them and they dont like it. WHY: because their people will die and this the governments dont like that. WHY: well if you have noone to govern, than being a prime minister is not fun. WHY: well, now you can stop asking the question.

Don’t forget to link every argument to your plan/problem. That means, that at least at the end of your argument you should say, why is your argument important for your problem or model.

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