Debate motions and Topic Guides
The Debating Matters Competition focuses on contemporary real-world debates at the top of the public agenda. We provide debate motions and attendant Topic Guides within the following broad categories: Science & Society, Politics & Policy, Arts & Culture. Each Qualifying Round, Regional Final and National Final will have a mix of debate motions from these categories.
Our debate motions
Allocation of debate motions to schools is always the result of a random draw. We will proivde you with notice of the debate mtoions you need to prepare for, and which side of the debate you are on, no later than four weeks before the date of the event you are participating in. This advance notice of debate motions is fundmentally important to the competition as it emphasises the need for thorough research, and rewards reasoned argument from students more than a demonstration of fast thinking oratorical skill.
In responding to questions posed to them, debaters are encouraged to show they have the facts to back up their arguments. Successful teams will have an awareness of the competing positions that exist in each debate and an appreciation of the wider issues at stake.
The Debating Matters Topic Guides are designed to provide an intellectual framework within which to start thinking about and researching questions raised by the debate motions. Designed to be used as online reosurces, they are no substitute for independent reseacrch, and they are not intended to be definitive. However, debaters will be expected to have a basic familiarity with the concepts, issues and arguments raised in the Topic Guides to allow for an informed debate.
Our Topic Guides
Debating Matters Topic Guides are brokwn down into the following sections:
Introduction The broad issues at stake in the motion are laid out in this brief essay of the topic.
In Context This section provides a summary of the key issues in the debate, set in the context of recent discussions and the competing positions that have been adopted.
Essentials It is crucial for debaters to have read the articles in this section, which provide essential information and arguments for and against the debate motion. Students will be expected to have additional evidence and examples derived from independent research, but they can expect to be criticised if they lack a basic familiarity with the issues raised in the essential reading.
Key Terms Definitions of key concepts that are crucial for understanding the topic. Students should be familiar with these terms and the different ways in which they are used and interpreted and should be prepared to explain their significance.
Backgrounders Useful websites and materials that provide a good starting point for research.
In the News Relevant recent news stories from a variety of sources, which ensure students have an up to date awareness of the state of the debate.
Audio/Visual A collation of all audio visual resources already listed in the Topic Guide in one place for ease of access.
Take a look at our current list of Topic Guides, freely available to schools, teachers and students.