Document Type

New Directions for NPDA and NFA LD


A consistent theme of debate league innovation and alternatives has been the attempt at an increased focus on "substantive" argument along with increased accessibility to the activity. The National Forensic Association's Lincoln-Douglas Debate (NFA-LD) is one of the more recent responses to the desire for an event which promotes topic specific argumentation, at a reasonable rate of delivery, which is accessible to students with no formal debate experience. NFA-LD's approach provides a reference point for examining the interaction of the league and event structure in the context of the desire for less speed, more substance, and, more accessibility.

The argument I will pursue is, first, defining a specific paradigm for judging was an excellent first step toward the above mentioned goals. And, second, there is still a need for a league-wide forum to specify and disseminate this paradigm. This development, in the specific situation of NFA-LD as well as debate leagues in general, shifts paradigmatic argumentation to the organizational level, at which it belongs. The pressure to "speed" is reduced. And, finally, accessibility is increased as both debaters and judges are not required to argue procedural, or paradigmatic, theory in rounds. I will trace this progression through three scenarios--a "no-holds-barred" format, the NFA-LD model and a modified version of NFA-LD, incorporating a league-wide forum on procedural/paradigmatic definition. At each step, paradigmatic argumentation is moved further away from individual rounds and closer to league-wide consideration.

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