The term issue is used to describe an area of conflict within the debate; something on which the two teams disagree-thus incorporating both direct rebuttal and reiteration of one's own case. It is important to note that issues should take into account multiple arguments from both side, not just smaller pieces of analysis-generally, there are only three of four issues in a debate, and they should be able to easily be phrased as questions. They should form the basis of rebuttal for substantive speakers, as well as the entirety of third speaker speeches.
For first and second speakers, the issues in a debate should form their rebuttal before they move onto their own case. They are simply the major points of disagreement that a speaker has with the opposition's case. First response speakers (i.e. the first speakers to respond to the opposition's case, the first negative speaker and the second affirmative speaker) should pick out three issues, usually a detailed discussion of each of the points that have been raised by their opposition so far. Second negative speakers should attempt to limit their rebuttal to two main issues-as the principled argument is likely to have reached a stalemate of a sort by this point, it is better to examine two issues in depth.
A discussion of the issues in the debate should form the entirety of the 3rd speaker's speech-as these issues should also include a reiteration of their own team's case, it is not necessary to also give a summary. These issues are, in most normative debates:
- The principled issue-which principle of the ideas the two sides have put forward should we follow?
- The largest practical clash-will this model be effective in its primary purpose?
- The smaller practical clashes-what effect will this have on broader society?