Making Persuasive Arguments in BP Debate (Part 2)

Coach Mike
Post by Coach Mike
Making Persuasive Arguments in BP Debate (Part 2)

Previously, you already learned how to make clear claims in your arguments and your rebuttals. It's now time to break down the other part of your argument – the analysis.

Once you’ve composed your clear claim, the second part of your argument structure is reasoning. Whether you call it explanations or warrants, the goal is the same – to prove that the claim is true. There are various ways to establish a claim is true, and since most things in life have more than one explanation, you should find multiple reasons for why your claim is true and include them as part of your argument. This is often referred to as a multi-layered analysis. This is so important because it makes your argument sound a lot more inevitable or assured, and even if the judge isn't entirely convinced by one of the reasons, it’s much more likely they’ll accept at least one of the reasons. Additionally, your opposing teams will need to think harder and spend more time tackling the different reasons. There’s also a good chance they’ll forget to answer one of the reasons or provide an insufficient response.

The first step for generating multiple reasons why a claim is true is to search for multiple reasons from the first moment you start working on your analysis. This means instead of asking, "Why is this true?" ask yourself, "What are the three reasons why this is true?"

Another method is to think, “Why is this likely to happen?” Let's walk through an example. On the motion, "this house would legalize all drugs," an opposition team might claim the "legalization of drugs will result in more people taking drugs." This claim can be broken down into four different questions:

The first question is, “Why is this generally likely to be true?” The answer can be, “This is generally likely to be true as it signals to the public that drugs are safe, which encourages usage.”

The second question is, “Who is this especially likely to be true for?” meaning you need to do a fundamental stakeholder analysis. The answer could be, “Addicts can generally steer clear of the black market sellers under the status quo, but when drug shops are on every street, it makes it much more likely that they‘ll relapse.”

The third question is, “What mechanisms make this true?” meaning what processes or procedures will take place that will lead to more people using drugs. The answer might be “When drugs are legalized, their price will drop significantly as they are mass-produced, making people more likely to use them as they are not priced out.”

The fourth question is, “Who has an incentive in this situation?” This again requires a stakeholder analysis, but with a different focus compared to the question of, "Who is this especially likely to be true for?" The answer about incentives can be "Drug stores will have a profit incentive to sell more drugs so they’ll use targeted advertising to attract even more customers.”

So there you have it – four different reasons for why the claim "legalization of drugs will result in more people taking drugs" is true. Suppose you include all of them as part of your analysis. In that case, you’ll end up with a very persuasive argument that will leave a strong impression on the judge and places a heavy rebuttal burden on your opponents.

Note, though, that each of these reasons should be significantly more detailed, with each step clearly outlined and explained to show how the change will occur. Don't just state each reason like a claim. Ask yourself how does this work? What is the result? Why does it matter? The clam and reasoning might sound something like this:

My first argument is that the legalization of drugs will result in more people taking drugs. There are four reasons why this is true. The first reason is that when drugs are legalized, their price drops significantly as they are mass-produced, making people more likely to use them as they are not priced out.

The drugs will be mass-produced as drug companies see this as a new profit opportunity since they already have a means for mass production to cut down on production costs. Illicit operations are unable to mass produce as it makes them more likely to get caught by the police. Hence, their prices are high to cover the costs and the risks, but drug companies can use economies of scale to manufacture more cheaply, which lowers the price.

This means more people are likely to use drugs now that they can afford them, as pricing is a significant concern, particularly for students or for people who do not have steady incomes.

So, if you’re tired of hearing the feedback, “You needed more analysis,” walking through these steps will help you thoroughly analyze your arguments.

The final part of any persuasive and properly analyzed argument is to have the impact. After you have proven that your claim is true, you must explain to the judge why they should care about it. This is the part where you want to make it clear to the judge why is it such a good or a bad thing if the claim is true? Why are people's lives better or worse if the claim is true, and to what extent?

This is crucial, and you can't assume that it’ll be evident to the judge that if your claim is true, they should give you the win in the debate. All teams in the debate might do an excellent job in their analysis and establish that their claims are true, which means that the importance of the analysis will be what matters.

Therefore, you should always impact at the end of every point and weigh at the end of your speech or following the impact. Remember that arguments can gain importance by:

· How many people are affected

· How deeply people are affected

· How significant or vulnerable the people affected are

· Whether the harms or benefits are very probable

· Whether the harms or benefits occur in the short-term or the long-term and how long they last

To conclude, making compelling arguments in parliamentary debate is not about a specific structure but the quality of each of the key components of the argument. Your claims should be definitive, using the motion's particular words and indicating your stance in the debate. Your analysis should include multiple, detailed reasons to prove the claim is true. And your impact should explicitly show why your claim and supporting analysis should matter to the judge. Do this, and you’ll see yourself with the next win.

Want to put your new persuasive skills to the test? Join LearningLeaders Debate Academy today to learn alongside debaters across Asia!


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Coach Mike
Post by Coach Mike