The quality of any debate depends to a large extent on a concise, accurate, and honest appraisal of the main terms in a resolution. Al though almost all textbooks on argumentation carry chapters on definitions of terms and principles to be followed, yet many high school and college debaters arc perfunctory in analyzing the questions they debate. In listening to hundreds of debates over a period of years, I have observed many recurring deficiencies in the interpretation of the resolution. Among the most common faults have been: 1. Strained and limited definitions for purpose of strategy. 2. Quibbling over terms when no issue is at stake. 3. Failure to contend definitions when they are issues. 4. Failure of affirmative plan to correspond to the terms as defined. 5. Reliance on dictionary definitions. 6. Inefficiency in the use of language. 7. Confusion over the meaning of the word "should".
Nelson, Roy C.
"And Now to Define the Terms...,"
The Gavel of Delta Sigma Rho: Vol. 31
, Article 8.
Available at: https://cornerstone.lib.mnsu.edu/gavel/vol31/iss3/8