Insights & Media

Insights & Media

“The Power of Impacts” by Leon Chin

June 15

An argument in a debate is composed of different important parts, and one of the most crucial is impacts. So, what is an impact and how will it help you ultimately win the debate?

Impacts are usually at the end of an argument, and answer the questions: ‘Why does this argument matter?’, ‘Why is this argument so important?’, and ‘What are the implications of this argument if it is true?’ Impacts must be distinctly utilized to make the audience understand the topic, while simultaneously persuading the judge that your arguments are important.

To effectively argue, debaters must know how to weigh and measure impacts. Answering the question ‘Why is this important?’ compares and evaluates the points within your argument against those of your opponents’. Those impacts must have certain criteria to compare and contrast the impacts of those of your opponents. They must either support the pros or cons of the claim, the number of people affected, or the degree to which it affects the population.

There are specific ways for impacts to be weighed:

  1. Magnitude. How many people or things are going to be affected? Maybe your argument on outlawing deforestation will affect 10 million people versus the opponent’s narrower case affecting only 17. Maybe their case affects all animals in the Amazon versus your team’s argument focusing on some animals in laboratories. Being able to prove that your argument impacts a larger amount of the population will undoubtedly tip the scales in your favor.
  2. Time Frame or Timeliness. This strategy will win over the judge if you prove that your argument is going to affect the population sooner or more frequently than what the opponent is suggesting. Will the impact you are presenting happen only once, or will it continuously affect the population? Will it happen within the coming academic year or not until 5-10 years from now?
  3. Probability. This is the degree or likelihood that the impact is going to occur or affect the population you address. To successfully argue the probability of your impact, substantial statistics or empirical evidence is needed to validate and support the points of your argument. It is not so easy for a novice debater to prove the probability of an impact, and it may seem daunting at first because finding valuable evidence to back up your arguments can be challenging for a beginner. However, as you compete in more advanced debates, this preparation in research will be imperative to win.

Impacts can make or break your chances in persuading the judge to vote in favor of your team’s case. They are also the tools to tell the judge why he or she should care about the topic. Impacts make the debate relatable to everyday life. Providing coherent and persuasive impacts and weighing them on magnitude, time frame, and probability are going to be absolutely crucial to your success.

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