Previews for the Upcoming Tournament are now on Drive! Click here to access them.


What Are Previews?

Affirmative cases additional to the Core Files can be be previewed and run at Chicago Debate tournaments, regulated by the Chicago Debate League Guidelines. Previewing a new affirmative case is entirely optional for teams, though there are often strategic advantages to doing so. Previewing is done on the official Chicago Debate form, which requires the sharing of the full plan text, full descriptions of Harms (including terminal impacts and scenarios), Solvency mechanisms, and all full citations.

Negative Previews are only used by the Blue and White Conferences on the Novice level for Tournaments 1 and 2 for previewing new Topicalities or Disadvantages not in the Core Files. They are a way for novice debaters to prepare for the negative arguments that can be run against their affirmatives. Previewing is done on the official Chicago Debate form, which requires the sharing of full description of a Disadvantages (including Uniqueness, Link, Internal Link, and Impact scenarios read in the shell,) and full descriptions of a Topicality (including summaries of  each standard), and all full citations.

Any school in the Conference, not just the submitting school, may use these Previewed arguments and choose from among them, but may not add new arguments not outlined to the previews beyond updating evidence for exact arguments that are already accepted in the previews.

Please see this document for explanations on How To Preview and Examples of Preview Formats.

Preview Forms

Previews are collected by the league, then posted for all schools, so that they can research and prepare negative arguments and strategies. Any school may use a case previewed by another school, by Conference-Division, so long as they use the same cards.
Preview Form-Red Conference T5 (due Monday January 29th, 6 pm)

Preview Form – Maroon T5 (due Monday, January 29th, 6 pm)

What Are Affirmative Plan Text Changes and Updated Evidence? How do I know if I need to preview?

Along with being able to preview new affirmative cases, schools can also preview a change to one of the existing runnable plan texts either from the Core Files or that another school has previewed. A plan text change is defined as changing any word in the text of the action the affirmative proposes. Schools preview plan text changes in order to adapt and improve their strategy against disadvantages, topicality violations, and sometimes solvency attacks. Additionally, a school can add new advantages to an existing affirmative. Updated plan texts or adding new advantages need to be previewed by filling out a standard preview form the same way a new case would be previewed.

Updating evidence is modifying any existing argument with newer or more material that does not alter the core of the argument. Schools can add new cards to an existing argument or switch out cards as long as they do not change the plan text or the overall story of the advantages, solvency mechanisms, or negative arguments. You do not have to preview those changes. So, while you can’t change the plan text or add new impact scenarios, you can put in more recent evidence and add additional supporting cards without needing to preview. These updates can only be made after the tournament for which they were originally previewed.


How Do I Research a New Affirmative Case?

Most teams preview a new case by finding one already prepared online. The National Debate Coaches Association Open Evidence Project has thousands of pages of debate evidence from all of the university summer debate institutes from around the country. The NDCA also hosts a searchable wiki with citations and sometimes full text of arguments used by National Circuit teams from around the country so far this season. At the most advanced levels of high school debate, teams research and prepare their own affirmative cases from scratch, doing reading in the topic literature that leads them to discover a good new idea for the resolution. Having our students research most of their own arguments, including their own affirmative case, is a good goal for your experienced Varsity debaters to aspire to in their second or third or fourth year of debate.

How Do I Reply to a Previewed Affirmative Outside the Core Files?

Take a look at this walk-through of how you might approach the research process to reply to a Teacher Shortages preview.

SY2017-2018 Argument Limits

Chicago Middle School Debate Argument Limits