Debate Evidence: Guide to Making Evidence Cards
Evidence in debate comes from passages taken directly from articles, reports, books, speeches, and transcripts. Sometimes evidence is called “cards” because we often put one piece of evidence on a 4x6 index card.
There are 3 parts to an evidence card:
1) The Tag/Claim—a brief statement summarizing the point of the evidence. The tag must be a complete idea (subject and verb). You write the tag after reading the evidence. (see “Evidence Citations” below).
2) The source citation (see “Tags” below)
3) The exact passage as copied from the article (cut and paste) and placed in a document to be copied and shared. (see “Handing in Your Evidence” below)
People of Western Sudan are Victims of Atrocities
Simon Robinson, NQG, Time, October 4, 2004, p.44
Aid workers and human-rights researchers say the violence
that has convulsed western
As you read articles about the debate topic, you should note passages that will make good evidence quotes.
A complete source citation consists of:
§ Author (first and last name)
§ Full Date of Publication
§ [page # or electronic source—web site or database]
If this information is not available, use the following as substitutes
§ NAG (no author given)
§ NQG (no qualifications given)
§ If there is no publication title, use the title of the article or report
§ NDG (no date given). If no publication date is given, you should record the date you downloaded the information, but be sure to state this as the date downloaded.
§ Provide this information in this order. All of our citations should be uniform.
§ You do NOT need to note the title of the article if you have provided the publication.
§ Please note when information is not available. When no notation is provided, we don't know if you forgot to include information or if it wasn't there.
§ It is unethical to withhold relevant information if it is available.
Qualifications generally refer to a person
Correct: Amy Rollerford, staff writer, Newsweek, May 12, 1999 [p.12]
Incorrect: Amy Rollerford, "Seven Reasons To Abolish The Death Penalty," Newsweek, May 12, 1999
Correct: Jonathan Chung, Prof. Of International Relations at Harvard, "An Analysis of US Cuban Policy," NDG, [www.brookings.org, downloaded 10-1-01]
Incorrect: Chung, Jonathan, www.brookings.org, 10-1-01
Correct: Associated Press (NAG), July 4, 1998 [Proquest]
Incorrect: AP, 7-4-98
A tag is like a headline for the excerpt that you write. It should accurately summarize the main idea of the passage using powerful language and a minimum of words (ideally seven or less). The tag will help you keep track of evidence and will help your opponent and judge flow (note) your arguments.
What makes a good tag (headline) for a piece of evidence?
§ The tag summarizes the main idea of the excerpt accurately
§ The tag is a complete idea (subject & verb)
§ The tag uses powerful and descriptive language
§ The tag is usually seven words or less
Handing in Your Evidence
§ Evidence should be handed in on 8½ x 11 sheets of white paper.
§ You should place as many evidence cards on a sheet as possible (given these guidelines), but never divide one card onto multiple sheets. If a cards does not fit on the page in its entirety, move it to the next page.
§ Evidence will not be accepted without complete citations and tags.
§ Make sure your hand in evidence with 1.5 inch side margins
§ Please label evidence as “AFF” or “NEG” If possible, organize your evidence into aff and neg sheets before handing it in.
§ Please put your initials on each page of evidence you turn in.
§ For long passages, it may be useful to underline the key concepts. Leave the entire passage on the page, but underline the lines that you think should be read in the debate. Of course, underlining should never alter the meaning of the longer passage—it is just used to save time during the debate.
§ You may hand in paper copies to Mr. Hering or e-mail the word document to Mr. Hering (preferred).