We are in the brief season, and I absolutely love briefs. I don’t just like using them, I also (usually) like writing them; I like critiquing them; I like theorizing about what makes good brief structure and content; etc. At a broader level, I typically prefer debates that rely on research that can be quoted, analyzed, and compared within rounds. However, although briefs can be a solid platform for you to stand on, you can’t just relax once you have them; you can have great research but still get out-spoken, out-strategized, out-theorized, or just otherwise out-debated. To really excel, you need to complement your research with broader skills, knowledge, habits, and so on.
Unfortunately (for me), I had to learn the hard way that great success often requires more than dedicated research and just passively learning through experience at debate tournaments. Fortunately (for you), we at Ethos have written many articles about helpful drills, effective habits, mindsets, theory concepts, tactics and strategies, and many other topics that can augment all of the research we have developed. Thus, I have devoted this article to listing a few of the articles we’ve written that can help with this and with directly building upon the briefs we offer.
Broad tips/habits for success:
Shifting your mindset about debate:
Learning from failure
Adding cross examination to your briefs
Speech drills (especially with an eye to word economy):