Competitions in the “Parliamentary Style” Format

The Parliamentary style debate format does not differ greatly from the traditional forms of competitive debates and comes from the idea of “public” or “audience” participation.  The major difference is that in this format the audience can ask questions of the debaters at the end of the presentations and has a collective vote of one in the judging of the winning team.

The debate panel of participants consists of four students per team.  One team presents the affirmative side (pro), of the debate question while the other presents the negative side (con).  Each participant is allowed five-minute speeches, followed by three minutes of cross examination from the opposing team.  Any team member may respond to the questions. The word “appropriate” is used in the statement of the resolution to make the debate one of value.  Each side should incorporate or use a value in presenting their side of the resolution.

At the end of the debate, the audience has twenty minutes to ask any individual or team questions.  The criteria for judging are audience adaptation, presentation, analysis, evidence or sources used, and the sound, systematic use of logical arguments.

Four judges and the audience each have one vote.  The winning team must garner a majority of the votes.  Announcement of the winners and presentation of the trophy occurs in the closing ceremonies.



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The Missouri State Great Science Debate is a student/teacher component of the Junior Science, Engineering and Humanities Symposium.