Parliamentary debate is an off-topic, extemporaneous form of competitive debate which stresses rigorous argumentation, logical analysis, quick thinking, breadth of knowledge, and rhetorical ability over preparation of evidence. It is patterned after the style of platform debate first made famous at Oxford University. The format pits two two-person teams against each other in a contest of argument, wit and rhetoric which roughly simulates debate in a House of Parliament. A different resolution is debated in every parliamentary debate round. Resolutions are chosen from a wide variety of political, philosophical, economic, cultural and humorous topics, and debaters often have a broad scope in which to define the specific case for debate which is drawn from the resolution. Hundreds of colleges and universities in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and over thirty other nations participate in parliamentary debate. It is the fastest-growing form of intercollegiate debate in the world.

— American Parliamentary Debate Association


  • Debate Round Format Basics
  • The American Parliamentary Debate Association Guide has videos from past tournaments, official rules, and other resources.
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    Syllabus - Debate For Justice