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Debater's Guide, Fourth Edition

Debater's Guide, Fourth Edition

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Jon M. Ericson, James J. Murphy, and Raymond Bud Zeuschner


Paperback (Other formats: E-book)
144 pages, 5.25 x 8.25, 7 illustrations


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About the Book

Tens of thousands of readers have studied and applied this practical guide to instruction in argumentation and communication since it was first published in 1961. In this fourth edition-the Fiftieth Anniversary Edition-authors Jon M. Ericson, James J. Murphy, and Raymond Bud Zeuschner have made significant revisions to improve the depth, flow, and clarity of this popular debater's handbook.

With straightforward explanations and specific applications geared toward contemporary debate practice, this compact volume offers students and teachers clear-cut assistance in resolving the key problem faced by debaters: the need to present arguments forcefully and cogently while reacting effectively to criticism. Beginning with a candid explanation of the basic principles of debate, The Debater's Guide then introduces the steps to building a case, from reviewing strategies for refutation and defense to engaging in cross-examination, solid research, and critical thinking. It advises readers on a wide range of important topics, from budgeting time in a debate to speaking in outline form by using a well-organized series of explanations, specific examples, and graphic presentations related to both policy and value issues. The authors apply these concepts to a variety of formats and situations commonly found in high school and collegiate debating.

Avoiding jargon and complex theory discussions, The Debater's Guide offers sound advice on presenting an effective case in oral discourse, helps students build their understanding of how and why debate functions, and provides a solid foundation for success in any format. The expanded contents pages and new subheadings allow for quick reference to any particular aspect of debate, making this new edition an excellent choice for classroom use as well as a valuable hands-on tool during debates.


Jon M. Ericson is dean emeritus of the College of Liberal Arts at California Polytechnic State University. 

James J. Murphy, professor emeritus of Rhetoric and Communication and English at University of California at Davis, is the author or editor of seventeen books, including Quintilian on the Teaching of Speaking and Writing. 

Raymond Bud Zeuschner is professor emeritus in the Department of Communication Studies at California Polytechnic State University.