In many debates, models are the backbone of the issue at hand-simply, they are the method that the affirmative team has proposed of implementing the idea put forward in the topic. They are highly important for any debate, as they form the basis of all speeches.


Models are requisite parts of any side's case in a normative debate; that is, in any debate in which the topic requires action, a model must be used to show exactly what the affirmative is proposing. In most empirical debates, models are not necessary, as the topic in itself does not demand action in any form; however, it is possible to use models to make empirical topics clearer; for example, on the topic, 'That schools are responsible for cyberbullying,' the affirmative could propose a model under which schools would have to arbitrate and monitor online actions of their students.



It is unnecessary and often unhelpful to go into a multitude of steps and detail about the model the affirmative is proposing. Details such as the exact overall cost of the model, the implementation phases and the eventual date of introduction are unnecessary for the debate, and can often damage credibility if facts and ideas put forward are obviously wrong. A first speaker should be able to put forward a model in less than 30 second, and should attempt to explain their model in a way that even someone who knew nothing about the topic would be able to understand the system they have put forward.

How tough or soft should our model be?Edit

When forming models, it's important to consider exactly how hardline or softline you wish your model to be. In general, it is best to ensure that your model is strong enough to guarantee that the debate has a fairly large scope; if the debate comes down to a model that seems very similar to the status quo, the affirmative team will invariably be blamed for what will inevitably become a fairly boring debate; the practice of using particularly soft models so as to reduce the scope of the debate is known as squirreling . Furthermore, making too many concessions in a model can lead to the impression that your side does not really believe in the principle they are putting forward. In general, it is the best policy to move towards a more hardline model, while allowing for some exceptions and caveats if necessary.


A countermodel is a model put forward by the negative side that is not mandated by the topic; for example, on a debate about instituting a carbon tax, the negative side could institute a countermodel of subsidising renewable energy. In general, countermodels should be avoided; they draw attention away from the affirmative's proposal, and can seem as though they are conceding certain facts to the affirmative. However, in some topic, they may be useful if it seems incredulous to argue that a solution to the problem is unnecessary.