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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:49 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2010 1:09 pm
Posts: 390
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Location: wandering down the rabbit hole
Okay so I am trying to become better at cross examination. I tend to fall back on asking a lot of "would you agree" questions which gets annoying and repetitive. So I was wondering how do you all phrase your questions? What are the best kind of questions to ask? And if anyone can point me to good articles on cross examination that would be awesome (basically any tips on good cross examination would be great :) ).

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 2:20 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2007 12:22 pm
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Location: Austin, TX
Shipsey recommends Wellman's book: http://www.ethosdebate.com/2011/01/reco ... amination/

When I see good debaters take their CXes to the next level, typically they have stopped asking questions about what the other team just said and instead find assumptions and agreement for what they intend to argue in the next speech or already did argue. Getting people to agree with the OVERALL point, though of course they don't think your particular case/neg actually matches it, can be done by searching for the ideal in CX. A kind of "let's get on the same page about how things SHOULD be" attitude that sets up your speeches to run through the test you just agreed on.

As for actual phrasing:
- Isn't it true that ______ ?
- Does ______ happen?
- But it's a fact that ________ ?
- Surely _______ ?
- We've all been in a situation where __________ ?
- What would you choose if ________ or ________ ?

Example line:
- In your 1NC you argued X, isn't that so?
- And the proof you offered was N?
- No, I don't need you to re-explain it, just confirming your argument.
- But in our 1AC we quoted Z person to say [Y warrants]. You'd agree that N doesn't really address Y?
- (now walk them through your logic)
- Now given [situation], wouldn't Y seem to hold true?
- I mean obviously we wouldn't want not-Y, right?
- So at least SOME of the time, the non-X part of the time, Y is correct?

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 3:45 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 29, 2009 4:38 am
Posts: 206
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Location: If the little thingy say I'm online, then I am probably on my computer; if not, who knows? :-)
Hi, Susanna!

One way to phrase "do you agree?" questions and not sound annoying is to ask them in the form of an example. Let's say you are neg against mandatory minimums and you want make the point in CX that mandatory minimums still allow for flexibility in sentencing. You might ask something like, "Would you agree with me that MMs are just a minumum, and judges are still allowed discretion above that minimum?" Try rephrasing it like this:

"So under the current system, if one person is found guilty of possessing one pound of cocaine, and a second person is guilty of possessing two pounds of cocaine and selling it to minors, could a judge still give the second person a worse sentence than the first?"

That gives a clear image to the judge and doesn't make it so obvious to the aff that you are getting them to agree with you on an important point.


Also, one thing you have to be very careful about with "do you agree?" questions is not taking the line of questioning so far the person you a questioning realizes you are making ground and backpedals. To many people end a brilliant line of questions by asking something like, "So you would agree that my partner's argument was actually correct?" 99% of the time, questions like that just give the person you are questioning a chance to realize they have made a misstep and backpedal, causing you to lose all the ground you had gained with your line of questions. Make sure you don't ask one too many questions.

Hope that helps!

Rebecca

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