Teaching Tools

Resolutional Analysis

With a partner come up with 10 topics on which reasonable people disagree (this exercise could be a follow-up to the “issue flexibility inventory” described above).

After discussing the resolutions, pick one or two and 1.) Phrase the subject as an issue, that is phrase it as a question which the two sides in the debate would answer differently, then 2.) phrase it as a resolution, that is phrase it as a single sentence which the affirmative team would support, then 3.) Define controversial words, then 4.) Identify the common arguments that could be expected from both sides.

For example if students chose capital punishment they would 1.) Make it an issue: “is capital punishment moral?” then 2.) Phrase it as a resolution “capital punishment is immoral” then 3.) Define key words like “immoral” and perhaps “capital punishment,” then 4.) Identify likely arguments from the affirmative and negative deterring crime, possibly executing innocent people, justice, etcetera.