Intro to Public Forum Debate

By Kacie Hu

What is Public Forum?

Public Forum is a team event that advocates or rejects a position posed by the monthly resolution. The ideas from both sides must be presented in an organized manner to the non-specialist, the judge. The debate should present arguments supported by logic and evidence, present a clash with refutations, and communicate ideas clearly and eloquently.


- Topic is worded as a resolution that advocates solving a problem by establishing a position (Affirmative supports, Negative is against)
- A team consists of 2 debaters - first and second speaker
- Each team needs to develop both an AFF case and a NEG case
- A case centers around 2-3 quality arguments supported by reasoning and evidence
- Evidence can include: facts/stats, quotes, studies, and anecdotes
- Each time will have 2 minutes of prep time total 



1) Use evidence when refuting - this strengthens the quality of your refutations
2) Make your case easy to follow and understand so the judge doesn’t get confused
3) It is best to use your prep time before the Summary and Final Focus
4) Use Google Scholar when looking for evidence - this gives you more professional studies & credible sources
5) Take advantage of crossfire to enhance your arguments or weaken your opponents
6) Practice debating against another team for each side of the topic - this gives you an idea of what to expect and also helps you become more familiar with your case