What Is the General Format When Conducting a Debate?

For team policy debate, which is the most the most popular format of debate practiced in American high schools, the format consists of eight speeches, four constructive speeches and four rebuttal speeches. The first four are eight minutes in length and the second four speeches are four minutes long.

In team policy debate, two teams are divided into a proposition side and an opposition side. The proposition side is called the affirmative and the opposition, negative. In constructive speeches, each team lays out the most important points of their arguments. The affirmative team always begins and ends a debate.

During the final four speeches, team members make rebuttals against the other team's main points. Resolution occurs in the form of a policy.