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Mark Crossman’s text introduces students to argumentation theories associated with testing arguments and reasoning, and encourages the use of these tests of arguments during debating. The text describes the theories and practices associated with NPDA style parliamentary debate, and provides an overview of the basics of “parli” debate. Burden of Proof includes chapters focusing on the following areas: the stock issues associated with arguing propositions of fact, value, and policy; refutation and the strategic considerations pertaining to the duties of the various speakers in a debate; and hints for overcoming anxiety to optimize effective delivery. The text also provides an overview of forensics (competitive speaking) and describes each of the major competitive events and tournament procedures. Written for students in Argumentation and Debate, Burden of Proof could also be used in any course featuring forensics.

Mark Crossman,

Mark Crossman earned a BA in Speech Communication from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where he was named the Department¿s Outstanding Graduate. He earned a MA in Speech Communication from CSU-Northridge where he was awarded the Charles Mudd award as the Department¿s Outstanding Graduate. He earned the Ed.D. from Pepperdine University. He was a successful forensics competitor, earning numerous awards at the local, state, and national level in debate. He has coached forensics at El Camino College for fifteen years. He has published and presented a number of articles on debate theory and the evolution of academic debate.
  • The first three chapters of the text discuss general theories of argumentation, fallacies, and the Toulmin model.
  • Chapter 4 provides an overview of Parliamentary Debate and introduces argumentation theories that are regularly discussed in the context of debate rounds. Chapter 4 may be used to quickly prepare students for a debate.
  • Chapter 5 describes research strategies appropriate for both in-class debates and tournament competition. Chapters 6 and 7 detail burdens on propositions of fact/value and policy.
  • Chapter 8 describes strategic issues associated with structure and refutation. Instructors may wish to assign the delivery chapter (Chapter 9) concurrently with the debate chapters.
  • Chapter 10 PREFACE 2 can be used to prepare students to observe a forensics tournament.
  • Chapter 11 is intended to be used only after students have mastered the basics.
  • Chapter 12 is new to the fourth edition of the text and examines the founding philosophy, rules and strategic considerations of IPDA style debate. IPDA is primarily a one on one (Lincoln-Douglas) format that instructors might find to be a pleasant, less theoretical addition to classroom debate and/or tournament competition.
  • Section on Speech Anxiety: Speech anxiety is common to virtually all debaters. Students new to argumentation and debate may experience higher levels of anxiety than their advanced counterparts. Burden of Proof is one of the few argumentation texts that discuss speaker anxiety.
  • Chapter on Forensics: Argumentation instructors frequently send their students to observe or compete in forensics tournaments. Burden of Proof provides a chapter that can serve as an introduction for both the observer and first-time competitor.
  • Researching Parliamentary Debate: Chapter 5 of the second edition provides research strategies for in-class debates and tournament competitors.
  • InfoTrac: In order to assist students in researching their cases, Burden of Proof is accompanied by access to InfoTrac. This database provides access to numerous full text periodicals and allows the student to conduct research at home.
  • Introduction to fallacies, the Toulmin model, and the basic vocabulary of argumentation: It is important that debaters have a strong background in reasoning. Burden of Proof emphasizes the importance of using test of arguments and analysis of fallacies to attack the opponent’s arguments.
  • Solid introduction to parliamentary debate: Despite the popularity of parliamentary debate, very few texts address it and provide instruction for it. Burden of Proof provides a solid foundation for the novice, while offering enough depth to interest advanced debaters.
1. An Invitation to Argue
2. Identifying and Testing Inductive Arguments
3. Fallacies
4. An Overview of Parliamentary Debate
5. Research: Discovering and Supporting the Issues
6. Arguing Propositions of Fact and Value
7. Arguing Propositions of Policy
8. Refutation: Defending Your Ideas throughout the Debate
9. Presenting Your Argument
10. Forensics: A Speaker’s Playground
11. Advanced Strategies for Tournament Debaters
12. IPDA Style Debate
APPENDIX A: Sample Topics