Case construction
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Case Construction. A Brief Roadmap. Before you start writing your case… Affirmative Case Setup Negative Case Setup. Step 1: Read and Think!. Before you ever put pen to paper, browse the literature Google Lexis Search Go to the Library

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Case Construction

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Case construction

Case Construction

A brief roadmap

A Brief Roadmap

  • Before you start writing your case…

  • Affirmative Case Setup

  • Negative Case Setup

Step 1 read and think

Step 1: Read and Think!

  • Before you ever put pen to paper, browse the literature

    • Google

    • Lexis Search

    • Go to the Library

      The point is to get an idea of what others have to say on the topic.

Step 2 brainstorm

Step 2: Brainstorm!

  • Make a t-chart, or a flow chart, etc.

  • Keep your thoughts organized

    • This means “aff ideas” get put together and “neg ideas” get put together.

    • Keeping your ideas separate will minimize headaches.

Affirmative outline

Affirmative Outline

  • There are many things affirmatives can do. The only thing they must do is prove the resolution is true.

  • We’ll go over strategies tomorrow, but for now we are going to simply look at what things should go in your case, and in what order those things should go.

Affirmative ingredients

Affirmative “Ingredients”

  • Your case must have:

    • Restatement of the topic

    • Definitions

    • Value/Standard Set-Up

    • Arguments (Contentions and/or subpoints)

  • Your case might have:

    • Observations and/or Burdens

Aff step 1 definitions

Aff Step 1: Definitions

  • As the affirmative you get to set up the initial “framework” for the round.

    • What does the topic mean?

    • What arguments should the judge consider based on the words in the resolution?

    • What arguments should the judge ignore?

Aff step 1 definitions1

Aff Step 1: Definitions

  • The way primary way to set up this “framework” is by defining key PHRASES in the resolution.

  • Do NOT NOT NOT define each word in isolation. Instead define words in “functional groups”.

Aff step 1 definitions2

Aff Step 1: Definitions

  • A “functional group” is a block of words that all work together.

  • For example: If the topic is _____________________________

Aff step 1 definitions3

Aff Step 1: Definitions

  • You would NOT want to define each word individually. Individually the words are not that important. What’s more important is how the words interact with each other.

  • You would want to define these PHRASES:

Aff step 1 definitions4

Aff Step 1: Definitions

  • Once you’ve figured out what phrases you should define, in a few words jot down what you think the phrase means.

  • If appropriate, write down what the phrase does not mean.

Aff step 2 arguments

Aff Step 2: Arguments

  • Generally your affirmative will have 2 “contentions”. These are your two general reasons you want to use to prove the resolution is true.

  • Look at your brainstorm chart. What are your strongest arguments? What arguments will you have the easiest time explaining in 15-20 seconds?

Aff step 2 arguments1

Aff Step 2: Arguments

  • When you’re doing your outline, you want to make sure that you include a basic idea of what all will go into your argument.

  • Claim - what do you want to prove

  • Warrant - why is it true

  • Impact - why does it matter if it’s true

Aff step 3 value criterion

Aff Step 3: Value/Criterion

  • This is the last thing you want to set up. Again, we’re minimizing headaches.

  • The point of the value criterion is to tell the judge HOW they will evaluate arguments.

Step 3 value criterion

Step 3: Value/Criterion

  • The VALUE is the overarching principle the resolution is addressing. Typically it’s either justice or morality.

  • 99% of the time the value will be explicitly stated in the resolution.

  • Don’t worry about defining your value yet. Just identify it.

Step 3 value criterion1

Step 3: Value/Criterion

  • The CRITERION (aka STANDARD) establishes a “rule” for determining if the value is a word that can describe something.

  • Morality and justice are pretty vauge, and both “beg the question”. (What IS morality? What IS justice?)

Step 3 value criterion2

Step 3: Value/Criterion

  • Even a definition of justice as generally accepted as ‘giving each their due’ begs the question, “What are people due?”

  • A Standard can be thought of as a specification or identification of something that people are - or are not - due. (Or a specific quality that indicates morality/immorality.)

Step 3 value criterion3

Step 3: Value/Criterion

  • What is your standard? Look at your arguments. Specifically, look at your impacts.

  • If you think your arguments prove the resolution true for reason X, then X is your standard.

Step 4 consistency check

Step 4: Consistency Check

  • Once you’ve got your outline, make sure everything “jives”.

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