Training, 12/10/2011 Rebuttal I Warwick Debating Society Proudly sponsored by
The basics What is rebuttal? • Rebuttal is responding to the arguments of the other side, and explaining why they are wrong. When you make an argument you are explaining why the audience should agree with your side, but when you make rebuttal you are explaining why the audience should not agree with the arguments of the other side. Why is rebuttal important? • Rebuttal is crucial to debating. In debating you must show both why your arguments are right AND why the other side’s arguments are wrong.
How to do it • Rebuttal should take the form of “they have argued this... but we think that this is wrong because...” • e.g. They have argued that the reintroduction of the death penalty will lead to a greater deterrent. But we think this is wrong because most people who kill generally don’t think about the consequences; they are usually so angry when they kill someone that they are not thinking at all.
Things to note 1) You can show why different areas of the other side’s argument is wrong; the explanation can be wrong (i.e. the argument’s justification does not make sense); the example can be wrong (i.e. it is either irrelevant or invalid); or the link can be wrong (it is irrelevant to the debate). 2) In every speech other than the Prime Minister speech, there must be rebuttal. 3) When doing rebuttal you should try and aim for the strongest arguments that were made by the speaker before you.
How to focus your rebuttal • It is very important to focus rebuttal so that it allows to be made in the shortest possible amount of time without limiting how effective it will be. • A good way to think about focusing your rebuttal is by using the PEEL structure. • When you are listening to a point that you are intending to rebut try an single out a specific area (Explain/Example/Link) that shows why the argument is incorrect.