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The result of such a haphazard method of procedure is to make many inexperienced debaters regard the process of assembling proof as one of the most uninteresting, blind, and discouraging problems to be faced in the whole art of debate.

This process, however, when undertaken according to a definite, well-ordered plan of procedure, need be neither uninteresting, nor blind, nor discouraging; but, on the contrary, may be one of the most highly interesting, clear, and even fascinating processes that the debater must employ.

Plan of Procedure in Assembling Proof. – A generally

approved and well-ordered plan of procedure in assembling proof involves the following steps:

1. A Definition of Terms Involved in the Proposition; 2. The Construction of a Bibliography; 3. The Establishment of Guides to Direct Research ; 4. The Adoption of a Systematic Method of Note-taking; 5. A Study of Both Sides of the Question; 6. The Arrangement of Proof in Chains of Reasoning; 7. A Trial of Proof in a Preliminary Discussion; and 8. A Repetition of the Foregoing Process for Every Sub

head in the Various Chains of Reasoning.

Definition of Terms. — The first effort of the debater in the actual work of investigation should always be to understand the exact meaning of his proposition; for any failure to interpret fully and accurately the meaning of a subject for debate is almost sure to result in inadequate or misdirected preparation.

This step in preparation for debate is called the definition of terms, but it might just as accurately be called an exposition of the meaning of terms; because it demands usually, not only a concise definition such as is found in dictionaries, but also a more elaborate and detailed explanation such as is found in encyclopedias.

The student of debate, therefore, should undertake the process of definition, first, by consulting dictionaries, and, second, by consulting encyclopedias or other works of general reference.

Books of general reference with which every debater should be familiar are :

The Statesman's Year Book ;
The Congressional Record;
The United States Census Reports ;
Statistical Abstract of the United States; and
The World Almanac.

When full and accurate definitions cannot be obtained from dictionaries, encyclopedias, and books of general reference, then the student should consult technical treatises, official documents, and published abstracts or synopses of new and complicated subjects.

Technical treatises within any special field may be discovered under the title of this field in library catalogues.

Official documents may be obtained through public libraries, or by application to the departments issuing such documents, or in the case of federal documents by application to one's Congressman.

Abstracts and synopses of subjects that arise in current events may usually be found in newspapers and periodicals. .

The debater should be familiar with each of these various sources of definition ; for at one time or another he may be called upon to use them all.

Bibliography. — After obtaining a general knowledge of a

subject by defining its terms, the debater is then prepared to undertake a more specific investigation of his problem. To make this investigation thorough, however, he should begin as early as possible to construct a complete bibliography; for, in this way, he may lay out in advance a comprehensive course of study.

A good debater's bibliography, when complete, will contain much valuable information, such as, for example, the names of books or articles containing material on his subject, the names of their authors, the date of publication, and exact page references, with also some statement about the value and application of the material presented, and some statement concerning the qualifications of the writer as an authority on his subject.

For the purpose of constructing bibliographies, the debater should be familiar with the following sources of reference:

Bibliographies appended to articles in encyclopedias ;
Library catalogues;
Poole's Index to Periodical Literature;
The Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature; and
The New York Times Index.

When an article or book appearing in a bibliography has been found to contain valuable material, then the debater should seek to place against it in the bibliography some comment concerning the qualifications of its writer as an authority. This information may be obtained usually in such standard works as :

Lippincott's Biographical Dictionary;
Dictionary of National Biography;
Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography;
Who's Who;
Who's Who in America; and
The Congressional Directory.

Guides for Directing Research. — Before the debater

proceeds very far in reading the books and articles contained

in his bibliography, he will feel the necessity of having some definite guides in his research to prevent him from reading over and over again the same information as it is presented by different writers, and to prevent him also from overlooking important information that might escape him if his reading were governed by chance.

These guides for his research will differ according as his proposition is a proposition of fact or a proposition of policy. In investigating a proposition of fact, the debater should seek answers to the following questions:

1. Are there any good witnesses or authorities who vouch

for the truth or falsity of the proposition ? 2. Is there any general theory by which the truth or

falsity of the proposition could be demonstrated ? 3. Are there any facts prior to the alleged fact in the

proposition that would prove the alleged fact to be

true or false ? 4. Are there any facts subsequent to the alleged fact in

the proposition that would prove the alleged fact to

be true or false ? 5. Are there any examples or analogous instances that

would prove the alleged fact to be true or false ? 6. Is there any counter proposition that is more likely to

be true?

In investigating a proposition of policy, the debater

, should seek answers to the following questions :

r 1. What is the purpose of the proposed change in policy? 2. Wherein does the proposed policy differ materially

from the present policy? 3. Is there any need of a change from the present policy? 4. Would the proposed policy accomplish its purpose ?

5. Would the proposed policy be more detrimental than

beneficial ? 6. Would some substitute for the proposed policy accom

plish its purpose more satisfactorily than the proposed policy?

Note-Taking. — Little need be said to experienced debaters about the necessity of taking notes on valuable material related to their subject, but much should be said to beginners about the prime importance of this part of their work.

The chief faults of beginners in this respect are: that they trust too much to memory; they fail to note the sources of their information for future reference and verification; they copy slavishly from others instead of digesting material to get its vital points; and they are then satisfied to leave their notes in such a disorganized form that soon the debaters, themselves, cannot make use of them.

The first principles of note-taking are, therefore, that the debater should always approach his work of investigation with note-paper and pencil in hand; he should allow no material to pass without a note if it has any possible value; he should always record against material the exact source from which it is taken; i. e., for example, the author, book, volume, and page; and then instead of writing out in full the information he has obtained, he should condense it, without altering its meaning, to get only the part that is valuable.

At first, notes should be taken in scrap form, but they should never be allowed to remain in this shape; for many notes, no matter how valuable they are in themselves, if they are left in a state of confusion, are often more of a hindrance than a help to the debater.

A convenient and systematic method of keeping notes is to employ a loose-leaf notebook or card-index with appropriate

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