By Frendy Lim / 1st year student


Debating is the act of convincing individuals with arguments, in which they attempt to prove that their statements are desirable while other parties can state otherwise. Debating often occurs in the society in various circumstances, either formal or informal; in competitions or within discussions among friends. Most people would like their opinions to be accepted, as they believe that they are correct, hence, they debate. However, there are times when people are unable to present their arguments effectively, resulting in their opinions not being considered the way they want it to. In order to deliver arguments more effectively and more convincingly, there are four basic steps that are advised to be followed.

Firstly, determine the type of the topic currently being discussed. According to the University of Monash in 2012 through Guide to Debating-Monash Association of Debaters, there are two main categories of an argument, which are principle and practical. Principle arguments are arguments that mainly discuss about human rights and the inherent values of certain actions, while practical arguments are mostly about tangible harms and benefits. A number of arguments and topics rely heavily on the principle values, such as the implementation of the voting system, where the values of democracy might be the central arguments, but there are topics that should be discussed in a practical level, such as the legalization of drugs. Arguing about human rights in a discussion concerning drugs is ineffective if it is not proven that drugs can thoroughly harm the society, because beneficial policies should be legalized. Hence, differentiating on whether a topic is a principle topic or practical topic is crucial in convincing the other parties.

The article in info-graphic form
The article in info-graphic form

Secondly, it is essential to provide reliable examples that are able to support the presented arguments. An argument without any examples is significantly weaker compared to the ones with strong evidences. Dr. B. Lee Hobbs stated in one of his articles during 2008 that examples make a stronger case. Meaning, people tend to believe arguments with strong evidences. Without examples, people may question the legitimacy of the arguments as they might be unable to envision what the arguments are about. For example, when an individual solely explains that Obama tend to pass good policies without necessarily explaining what the good policies are, people might question if Obama really does so. Examples provide a solid and tangible statement that the arguments are indeed factual, and facts are able to convince individuals as those are truths which are undeniable.

End of Part 1