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Tips for 2010 is a set of three posts as the 2010 year proceeds, and we enjoy the Russian resolution. Part 1 includes several suggestions for starting your year correctly. Part 2 will include pointers for improving your scripted 1AC once you have chosen a case topic and have a fully-written 1AC. Part 3 will deal with post tournament experiences, judge comments, and how to read your ballots.


1. Google Alerts

These email notifications are an indispensable resource for any debater. They provide the most up-to-date articles on topics of iour choice right to your inbox—it doesn’t really get much better than that. Here are a few suggestion for searches to create (you don’t want to many or they can easily become a source of SPAM!)

– Russia
– Russian Government
– US-Russia Relations
– US-Russia Policies

At this stage of the year, the alerts should be used as a source of knowledge to build background information, but later in the year, they should be your best friend, providing recent articles on the case topic you will later chose.

2. Wikipedia

Wikipedia is often given a hard time by many people, debaters especially, when it can actually be used as an extremely helpful resource. Last February, our debate coach told us to read wiki pages on our case topic and any negatives we were researching at the time. After my partner and I read what Wikipedia had to say about a carbon tax, it was surprising how much information we gained; both a more full background understanding, and things we used later in actual rounds. I would urge you to do the same. Read wiki articles on Russia, Russia political leaders, et cetera. You’ll be surprised at just how helpful it will be and how much background info you’ll gain.

3. Ze Library

…or Amazon.com. Guys, the internet isn’t everything—checking out or buying a few books and then reading them is another extremely valuable resource, especially for gaining background information prior to the tournament season. Purchase or check-out at least two to three books relevant to the Russia resolution, and read them. Do we want recent evidence? Yes! But background info is almost just as crucial as recent evidence. Background information is like gold and Wikipedia and the library are goldmines.

Conclusion: did you catch my theme?
Background Information! You really cannot know too much about the resolution before you begin intensive research and actual debating. So, browse Wikipedia and take a visit to the library…you’ll only benefit from it. Trust me. *wink*

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