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It is that time of the season. Most of you have already participated in your first big qualifier. Many of you are headed into your second qualifier or to a national open. You have all your sourcebooks, you have your traded files, you have your club files, and you are busy researching for the next meet. You are doing everything right, right?

STOP Researching!

Yes, you heard me correctly. In a recent practice round, Isaiah – as coach – ran neg against a case. He ran a DA that nobody had heard of and hadn’t been run in a round. When the students asked about it, he told them it was straight from Ethos. Funny, all the students owned it, none of them had really read it – not even those who helped write it.

How many of you have actually sat down and read all of your evidence? Yes, all of it. Often when organizing evidence, robot mode sets in and you never actually take in the words or think about the evidence. Now is the time to read your evidence and actually see what  you have, become familiar with it, strategize about it, come up with new applications for it, toss out the useless and condense to the best arguments.

I had one student actually tell me that this would be a big time waste. Please explain to me how actually familiarizing yourself with all of that is a waste of your time. You have already spent tons of time researching and gathering negative briefs. You also spent lots of money on those sourcebooks. Your time and resources have already been wasted if you don’t know well what you already have.

STOP researching and START reading. You might be surprised.

1. Read your evidence with a marker. Green is for “keep it” yellow is for “re-think it” and red is for “toss it.”
2. Use the margins and take notes as you read. The notes should be any ideas you have while reading, cross applications of the evidence to other cases, and areas that need further research.

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