Can you tell what’s one of the most common phobias most people tend to have in the US? Is it height, snakes, insects, or public speaking? Well, the last one rings a loud bell, isn’t it? Well, you are right on the money!
Debate offers a golden chance to all students to practice essential life skills like conducting extensive research, structuring logical and persuasive arguments, and mastering effective ways to grapple with complicated current issues. Further, debates can help develop confidence, foster collaboration with peers, and allow students to become well-informed members of society. And who knows? A fruitful high school career on the debate team can inspire a thriving career in public policy, law, or international relations in the future.
Having all that said, today's comprehensive post aims to walk you through all the essentials you need to know to pursue a successful debate career. It highlights the nitty-gritty of debate, effective guidelines for choosing controversial debate topics, and also some remarkable topic suggestions to draw inspiration. With these intriguing debate questions at your disposal, you can ace any debate and get applause from your audience like a pro.
What is Debate? A Quick Overview
Before you dive deep to understand how to choose the best debate topics, it is crucial to get the hang of what a debate truly is.
A debate is an organized argument or contest of ideas where participants must discuss a topic from two opposing sides. Those who agree with the statement or ideas must speak from the 'For' side. Those who don't need to speak from the 'Against' side. Each side will demonstrate in an organized and clever way they believe to have the right answers. They also require using examples and concrete evidence to support their ideas while working towards a conclusion.
The purpose of a debate is to persuade the opposition that you are right. When two sides agree on the subject or when the argument of one side is more convincing than the other, the debate comes to a close.
Generally, debates are conducted in academic institutes, public meetings, and legislative and law-making assemblies. In the academic and scholarly environment, it is believed to be quite a fun and enlightening activity that engages the audience and enriches their knowledge bank.
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What are the Types of Debate?
Debates can be of different kinds. Every kind is used for a specific setting. All of them are conducted differently and could take place for various purposes.
Have a look at the below-mentioned six kinds of debates –
- Lincoln-Douglas Debate
This kind of debate is usually used in formal debating societies. It is also popularly known as the 'value debate' and demands two individuals argue against each other on ethical and moral issues.
- Cross-Examination Debate
In this kind of debate, every speaker is provided time to answer questions posed by the opposition while presenting their arguments.
- Rebuttal Debate
A rebuttal debate is an argument that occurs mainly between two participants. Every participant has to present their arguments and prepare a strong case against the viewpoint of the opposition.
- Public Forum Debate
This is a kind of debate in which two teams require competing against each other with their respective cases.
- One-Rebuttal Debate
This kind of debate is similar to the Cross-Examination debate, except that every speaker gets only one chance to refute the argument of the opposition.
- Oregon-Oxford Debate
This debate also takes place mainly between two participants, and every speaker needs to present the arguments while preparing a strong case against the perspective of the opposition.
Regardless of what kind of debate you are planning or participating in, you will require an out-of-the-box or unique kind of topic for it. Your topic must be intriguing and relatable for the audience. This is enough to make your debate a winner.
How to Choose Good Debate Topics?
Always remember good debate questions will enable the audience to comprehend both sides of the issue. They will also help them stay engaged and make better, more informed decisions.
Seems challenging, isn’t it? Not quite, if you have the right tips and tricks up your sleeves. Have a look at certain tips and tricks that will enable you to select a winning topic for your debate –
It is important for you to be interested in your topic since you are the one who will write and deliver it to your audience. If you are not interested in the topic, you won't be able to make a convincing debate that persuades your audience effectively.
You must be well-versed in the pros and cons of your topic to present an effective debate. This will enable you to convince the audience by opposing the viewpoints of the opponent.
- Target Audience
This is perhaps the most essential aspect to consider while choosing debate topics. Your topic should always be as per the intellectual level of your audience. Only this way they will be able to truly comprehend what you are trying to deliver in your debate.
- Argument Potential
Lastly, choose a topic that has solid argument potential. If only one side is right or if there's limited information available on a subject, you will face a hard time in writing a good debate.
Clear till now? We are sure you are. Let's then proceed to comprehend the essential dos and don'ts you need to know to give a good speech!
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Debating: The Essential Do’s and Don’ts to Remember
If you aim to deliver a debate speech that earns huge applause from the audience, it is essential to be well-versed with certain essential dos and don'ts.
Have a look at certain best practices to keep in mind and several things to avoid when debating –
- Prepare in advance and conduct in-depth research on the topic
- Consider both sides of the argument and offer a balanced view
- Use enough evidence and facts to support your opinions
- Pay heed to the opponent’s point of view diligently
- Respectfully disagree with what you don’t agree
- Be prepared to compromise
- Argue for the sake of arguing without any sufficient concrete evidence
- Get personal
- Use offensive language
- Monopolize the conversation or interrupt others
- Ignore what the other person is saying
- Be excessively emotional about the topic
- Make assumptions or jump to conclusions
By keeping these essential dos and don'ts in mind, one can effectively debate any given topic.
Foolproof Tips for Choosing a Good Debate Topic for Your Classroom
Great debates always start with intriguing and inspiring debate questions. However, choosing a brilliant one is easier said than done. You will require finding the right balance between the interests of the debate team and what can be appealing to your audience.
If you are struggling to choose unique, controversial topics to debate, look at the section below. To get you started, we have come up with certain remarkable strategies that will always help you select an inspiring topic to speak about. Have a look –
- Select Topics in Which You Find Comfort
While preparing for debates, selecting controversial debate topics you find comfortable sharing your views on is always wise. To put it simply, you should always select those topics that you are open to discuss. Further, your topic of debate should always be the one that allows your opinion to be criticized by others.
- Choose One You Can Frame the Best
Know it is always wise to choose a topic that is a concrete case rather than debating on a general topic. Also, remember a debate speech needs issues that are relevant and has adequate empirical data on it. Such types of topics can always be deeply analyzed and critiqued.
- Choose One That Caters to the Nature of the Debate
The next thing to consider is the debate's nature. The debate topics should be more superficial and general if it is at the school level. However, if it is for a conference and involves experts, then the topic you choose must be more detailed and specific.
As you explore different debate questions, you must naturally incline towards exciting and intriguing subjects. Making a speech on a topic your educator or peers will love could be monotonous or inauthentic. So, it is always wise to understand what makes your heart a tad bit fast and follow that curiosity.
Let’s now check out an extensive list of unique debate topics that will compel your audience to cheer out loud –
Debate Topics for High School and Middle School Students
Debate Topics for Kids
- Do you think virtual learning is suitable for young children?
- Which one is better – cartoon network or storybooks?
- Is home-schooling much better than the traditional education system?
- What is the perfect time to sleep for students?
- Do you think it is the right time to watch television for children?
- Is junk appropriate for children or not?
- Do you think kids must be given candies at all?
- Explain why birthday gifts must be special but not expensive
- Aliens – Do you think they are real or fake?
- Are outdoor classrooms beneficial for learning?
- Do you think stuffed toys are only for little kids or girls?
- Do you think children must get a longer recess?
Debate Topics for Teens
- Do you think welfare recipients should be allowed to take drug tests?
- Do you think peer pressure must be different for girls and boys?
- Do you think marijuana should be legalised for medical and recreational use in all states?
- Do you think transgender people should be allowed to participate in sports that align with their gender?
- Do you think the age of voting must be lowered?
- Do you think vaping must be treated like smoking?
- Do you think technology makes people lazy? Is technology causing more harm than good or the other way around?
- Do you think free tuition for all o college is feasible and beneficial to society?
- Do you think we should sell birth control over the counter?
- Do you think government can execute policies that will truly combat climate change?
- Do you believe playing violent video games makes individuals more likely to become violent?
- Present your views on how parents can use their kids' cell phones to track where they are. Do you think it is right?
Debate Topics for Middle School
- Do you think junk food should be restricted in school cafeterias?
- Do you think it is mandatory to have PE lectures for all students?
- Present your views on the ways your generation has adequate role models
- Do you think virtual learning is a new form of learning?
- Write about the appropriate amount of screen time for a kid
- Do you think it is right to criticize your educators in public?
- Present your views on how reality television depicts real life
- Do you think the minimum age to own a smartphone should be 16?
- Present your views on how all museums and zoos must be free to everyone
- Do you think – happiness is more vital than success?
- Do you think – ‘Harry Potter’ is better than ‘The Lord of the Rings’?
- Present your views on how all schools should require physical education through 12th
Debate Topics for High School
- Is it necessary for all students to pass the basic math proficiency test in high school?
- Do you think parents must be held responsible if their children commit crimes?
- Discuss the impact of school start times on the performance of a student
- Explain the pros and cons of merit-based scholarships
- Explain the significance of teaching cultural diversity in educational institutions
- Do you think marijuana should be legalised for recreational and medical use in all states?
- Do you think citizens should be allowed to own and carry guns in modern society?
- Do you think the research on stem cells is ethical? Does the greater good outweigh the taking of future life?
- Present your views on how the concept of climate change exists. Discuss the ways it impacts the world.
- Do you think free tuition for all to college is plausible and helpful to society?
- Do you think the current grading system used in the United States of America is outdated?
- Present your views on how drone fighting can be the new age of warfare.
Debate Topics for College Students
- Presenting your views on homework can help in bringing an end to learning skills.
- Write about the significance for students to play sports regularly
- Discuss the reasons why the topic of religion should not be discussed in schools
- Do you think physics is an important subject area?
- Explain why renewable energy must replace fossil fuels
- Present your views on how free speech is non-negotiable
- Do you think sexual education must be mandatory?
- Write about how social media brings more than good
- Do you think there exists any justification for the war on terror?
- Present your views on the need to restore internet neutrality
- Do you think the universal basic income should be the right of every individual?
- Presenting your views on marriage is no longer essential.
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Exceptional Debate Topics on Different Subjects
- Discuss why mobile phones should never be allowed in schools
- Explain the impact of social media on high school pupils and teenagers
- Do you think public speaking can truly boost the confidence of students?
- Explain the ways a college education can help you secure a good job
- Discuss how outdoor learning is beneficial
- Discuss how the modern college education system is much better than the traditional one.
- Do you think all students must volunteer for community service?
Entertainment and Technology
- Social media: Discuss its essential advantages and disadvantages
- Do you think technology is making you wiser or dumber?
- Discuss the ways gaming can be used to improve learning
- Explain the advantages and disadvantages of the iPhone6
- Discuss the best ways to get children interested in science and technology
- Present your views on driverless cars
- Do you think quantum computers will become mainstream in 50 years, as many stalwarts predicted?
- Do you think toilet paper should be hung over or under?
- Present your views on macaroni and cheese should be eaten with a spoon, not a fork.
- Do you think Facebook should add a ‘Don’t Like’ button?
- Do you think Darth Vader was ultimately a hero and not a villain?
- Do you think it is better to have a superpower or a super-rich one?
- Do you think it is better to have a dragon or unicorn as a pet?
- Do you think it is better to have a flying car or a teleportation device?
- Do you think zoos should be banned?
- Is it necessary for kids to have privacy?
- Discuss the significance of saving money.
- Present your views on why a majority of kids begin smoking
- Explain the significance of reading books
- Discuss whether animals should have similar rights as humans
- Discuss how fast-food chains are the major cause of the increase in the rate of obesity
- Do you think the penalty of death must be abolished?
- Explain how the legal age for voting must be reduced
- Do you think police officers must wear body cameras?
- Do you think plea bargains must be fair to defendants?
- Do you feel juveniles who commit crimes must not be tried as adults?
- Do you think the process for choosing Supreme Court justices must be reformed?
- Do you think the United States must adopt a federal hate crimes law?
- Do you think most humans tend to learn better by listening or reading?
- Do you think universities must offer free tuition to all?
- Present your views on how knowledge is more vital than experience
- Explain the remarkable ways to acquire knowledge
- Do you think tests are an excellent indication of student learning?
- Do you believe grades can accurately measure intellectual abilities?
- Do you feel abortion is murder?
Life and Ethics
- Present your views on how beauty pageants can be another way to objectify women.
- Do you believe cigarettes should never be allowed in public places?
- Discuss how torture is never justified, regardless of how the situation is
- Explain how democracy is the outstanding form of the government
- Is it right to punish parents for the mistakes of their children?
- Do you feel learning about history can prevent us from repeating past mistakes?
- Discuss why white-collar jobs are much better than blue-collar jobs.
- Do you think it is right to use animals for scientific research?
- Is abortion wrong in all scenarios?
- Discuss the moral responsibility of corporations.
- Do you think prostitution must be made legal?
- Do you believe teenagers must go into romantic relationships?
- Do you think sex education is a proper subject for teenagers?
- Do you think a ban must be imposed on bullfighting?
- Discuss the best way to conserve wildlife habitats
- Explain the role of nuclear energy in combating climate change
- Discuss the impact of geographic features on environmental sustainability
- Explain the ethics associated with the consumption of meat. How to address environmental impacts and animal welfare?
- Explain the ways deforestation can be stopped or slowed down
- Discuss why bees are significant to the environment
- Explain the necessary steps to take to minimize air pollution
- Discuss how police must be allowed to utilize lethal force
- Present your views on the relevance of the Paris Agreement
- Do you feel free speech must be an individual right?
- Is freedom of speech essential for a nation to grow?
- Do you believe the churches should pay more taxes?
- Discuss the reason police must use deadly forces
- Do you feel Barbie is not a practical example of a role model?
- Do you think college athletes must be paid?
- Do you think using genetically modified athletes must be allowed in professional sports?
- Discuss salary caps in professional sports leagues
- Write about the ‘No Blood, No Foul’ rule in martial arts
- Do you feel too much emphasis placed on winning in sports?
- Do you feel gender equality and inclusion is being promoted in sports adequately?
- Is it ethical to do sports betting?
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Most Frequently Asked Questions By Students
- Why is it important to select interesting debate topics?
Selecting a topic for a debate can determine your success in it. Selecting a good debate topic will ensure your audience is engaged, excited and thus more eager to share their thoughts and opinions. Debates on interesting topics also lead to more memorable and passionate discussions. They can also lead to the audience participating in impromptu, forgetting about shyness or their fear of public speaking.
- What makes a debate topic interesting?
A good and interesting debate topic will always enable the audience to comprehend both sides of the issue and keep them engaged to make better and more informed decisions. A debate topic is only interesting when –
- You love the topic and can deliver convincingly to convince your audience
- It focuses on the pros and cons of a subject
- It matches the intellectual level of the audience
- It has a solid argument potential
- Are there specific categories or themes for debate topics?
There are different specific categories or themes for debate topics like social and political issues, education, health, technology, environmental issues, and the likes.
- Should I consider the complexity of a debate topic?
Yes, it is important to consider the complexity of a debate topic. Complex arguments explore in depth the different aspects of the issue being considered. This includes presenting your thoughts clearly but dealing fairly and effectively with the thoughts of others. Additionally, complexity classifies arguments based on acknowledgement and consideration of conflicting evidence or conflicting frameworks for judging the issue, use of frameworks for assessing evidence, and use of meta-frameworks for assessing frameworks.
- How can I ensure both sides of the debate have equal arguments?
This entirely depends on the topic. If the debate is on a topic like 'Is the diesel engine worse or better than a petrol engine', then it can be ensured that both sides of the debate have equal arguments. The answer to this question is based on the relative importance that you place on various factors like weight, emissions, efficiency, reliability, etc.
But, if the topic is 'Are religious books true?', then no. They are unarguable from both sides unless one is ready to abandon reason and facts completely.
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