How to Start a Debate

by Rosallee Scott
Formal debate provides each speaker with a chance to give a rebuttal.

Formal debate provides each speaker with a chance to give a rebuttal.

When wanting to know how to start a debate for a school project or political campaign, it is important to be prepared for anything that may be thrown at you. No matter the topic or which side you are supposed to be debating, it is hard if you are not passionate about the issue. But even if you are assigned something you know nothing about, preparing yourself ahead of time can give you the drive you need.

How to Start a Debate--Be Prepared!

Research everything you can find about the topic of the debate. This includes magazine and newspaper articles as well as any online information. Also read articles that have taken the opposing side of yours.

Take plenty of notes. Write down anything that might be the least valuable to you. This includes points that your opposing side might use against you. Write everything down in pencil, so you are able to erase it if you end up with some false information, especially from different websites.

After you have all your information, doublecheck all the facts that you will be using if they didn't come from a reliable source. The worse mistake you can make while debating is to say something that the opposite side can prove is not true. It ruins even the credible things you say, because it puts a question mark above everything. Not to mention the embarrassment factor.

Write down the main points that you will use when figuring out how to start a debate. Then write down what you would counter with if you were being debated on the other side of the issue. This will help you be prepared for what your opponent may throw at you. Next, study the main points that your opponent will be bringing to support his stance on the subject, so you can also think about countering him.

Practice. Have a few friends listen to you and give feedback. Make sure that your opening statement is rock solid and tells your point of view clearly.

Items you will need

  • Research materials
  • Note pad
  • Pencil

About the Author

Rosallee Scott has been a freelance writer since 1998. Currently, her career is focused on creating informational articles for Web content. Though Scott's articles cover a variety of topics, her concentration is predominately on garden-related issues, decorating and interior design.

Photo Credits

  • Julian Finney/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images