The College Policy Debate Survey research project was designed to answer relevant questions about current debate practices and the debate community. This information can be used to inform future interventions as well as programming (e.g. bystander intervention training, organization membership criteria, judge mentorship, and involvement of historically marginalized or at-risk populations). This paper analyzes qualitative data from the 2014 College Policy Debate Survey and incorporates both the quantitative and qualitative data from the 2015 version. The study was developed to help the debate community understand what members believe constitutes a good resolution and salient beliefs about why people participate in debate as well to identify concerns within the debate community. Over the course of two years 584 students, coaches, and alumni completed the survey. In 2014, 378 participants completed the questionnaire and 206 participated in 2015.

Participants indicated they want a sustainable resolution that was accessible to all skill levels and diverse perspectives. Their most important reasons for participating in debate were because it was fun and because of the educational benefits. Harassment and institutional/structural sexism were identified as the most pressing concerns for the debate community to address. This research brief concludes with recommendations, informed by the data, to positively impact the college policy debate community climate.