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Research Links & Insights
This section will provide a number of links and tips for researching debate on the Internet. This section will be useful for policy debate and student congress research.
Free Policy Debate Files
Summer debate camps have started providing their camp files for free. These files can serve as an excellent building block for the season. Below you will find links to several sites with free files for this year’s military topic, but first, a look at back files.
Back Files- In policy debate many the same arguments will return year after year and previous year’s files that are still useful are considered back files. These files can also be very useful for student congress competitors. One place to turn for back files is Planet Debate. You can also find a large but less user friendly list here.
Planet Debate – Planet Debate is a comprehensive debate website. It includes both free and pay resources. When using the links keep in mind that free files are combined with pay files. If you want only free files make sure that evidence link has (FREE) listed next to it.
Transportation Topic Files – Below you will find links to free files for the space topic. In the world of DEBATE-Kansas City half of our student congress docket relates to the policy debate topic, these are useful for congress and obviously policy debate.
- National Debate Coaches Association- This page has files from 2012-13 summer camp evidence.
- National Association for Urban Debate Leagues - The NAUDL has provided a complete argument and research kit. Check it out!
Internet Research Links
We will begin this section with a few basic tips for doing Internet research, begging with the search terms to use.
General Search Term Tips :
- Use terms from the resolution or congress legislation. If you are researching policy debate terms from the year’s resolution are an obvious starting point. If you are a student congress person then use terms and phrases from the legislation you are researching.
- Start general, and then get more specific based on the research. You may start with a broad search, and then as results flow, you will get a better idea of what you are looking for. As this happens, use terms that reappear in useful articles.
- Look for cited works. If you are reading an article, and it references another author’s work, look up the cited work.
- Mine the citations. At the end of many articles the author will have footnotes or citations. These are often very similar research articles to the one you are reading and should be useful.
- Look for Authors. If you get more than article by the same author, Google their name and see what else you can find. Often time’s people will write several works on the same subject.
Research with Google – Google is generally considered the best search engine around. The search tips above directly apply for using Google. In addition, here’s a few other tips:
- Change the Date: After searching you can use the “more search tools” bar on the left to search for on the newest articles. You can limit returns to the last week, month, year etc.
- PDF to Weed Out Junk: Click on the advanced search button below the search box, then use the “file type” tool to limit search returns to only PDF documents. This will weed out potentially undesirable blogs and limit returns to largely academic works.
- Use Quotation Marks: If you know an exact phrase you are looking for, use quotation marks. If, for example, you type – military presence – without quotes the search will return documents that contain those two words anywhere on the page. But if you type “military presence” it will only return pages with those words together.
Research with Google News – If you are looking for the most recent information on a topic then Google News is for you.
- Know the Date: Google News generally limits returns to articles in the past 30 days. To search older articles you need to click “advanced news search” and then you need to click on the “archive search” button. You may need to adjust the achieve dates to keep returns relatively recent.
Research with Think Tanks – The link above directs you to University of Michigan listing of think tanks. Thinks tanks are collections of “experts” who write their opinions on various issues. Though some people question the objectivity of many Think Tanks, the evidence they produce can be quite useful in speech and debate. The US Congress often quotes evidence and uses arguments developed in Think Tanks
- Use the Search Function: Almost all think tanks have search buttons. Use the search tool like you would on Google.
- Examine Issues/Areas of Interests: most think tanks cover a variety of issues. They will usually have an issues/areas of interest/areas of research link. Look for the category that aligns with research and browse their information.
- Look Through Publications: Another way think tanks organize information is under a “publications” link. Click on the link and look for publications matching your topic.
Cross-X Debate Forum - Discussion forum covering the current debate topic.
List of Journals – Here is a list of International Relations and Critical Security journals. Excellent for policy debate, especially Kritiks.