It’s John from Debate Academy and today we’re going to learn the basics of Cross-Examination. Understanding cross-x will help you ask effective questions and know what kind of questions to prepare for.
Constructive speeches (1ac, 2ac, 1nc, 2nc) are always followed by a cross-examination period, when a debater from the opposing side gets to question the debater that just gave the speech. This is also known as “cross-x”.
Each cross-x lasts 3 minutes.
So, what’s the point of cross-x?
Well you can use cross-x for a variety of strategic purposes, including
- Clarify the debate: If you don’t understand an argument, ask about it.
- Getting warrants on the record: have the other team explain exactly what their argument is, so you can attack it
- Showing Presence or dominance, because perception can make the judge think you’re winning and make your arguments more compelling
Some things you can ask about include:
- Arguments made by the other team you did not understand
- Arguments made by the other team that you think you may have missed
- How some arguments made by the other team are inconsistent with other arguments they made
- How the arguments the other team made answer arguments you made
The judge doesn’t flow cross-x, this means that even if you prove a good point during cross-x, you still have to use it as an argument in your next speech for the judge to evaluate it.
Here’s an example:
If I ask someone a question that proves their impact is unlikely to happen, I then must say something like:
“No impact: in cross-x I proved that they can’t explain how their impact will actually happen.”
Here are some extra cross-x tips:
- Ask precise questions; avoid being open ended by aiming for yes or no answers.
- Don’t waste time on a question the other team can’t answer
- Point out when the other team’s arguments don’t have good evidence or warrants backing them.
- And last, use this information in your speech!
Here are a few cross-x don’ts:
- Don’t be mean or bully the other team.
- Don’t ask questions that that could have a surprising answer
- Don’t ask filler questions just to waste time
- Don’t be a pushover. Be willing to stand your ground.
So to recap: Cross-x should be strategically used to set up arguments and help you better understand your opponents arguments. Every question you ask should have a purpose.
That’s all for this lesson. Congratulations on taking the next step to become a successful policy debater. I’ll see you in the next episode.