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Flowing in Policy Debate

Flowing in Policy Debate


Flowing simply describes the process of taking notes in the debate. It was invented in the 1970s as a way to keep track of the flow of arguments across the debate and it is based on the idea of a flow used in computer programming – how the commands and inputs trigger different reactions by the computer, the same way arguments should trigger different reactions (responses) by debaters.

For example

Contention I – Equality

Education inequality now —> education inequality decreasing (response)
School choice reduces inequality –> school choice increases inequality (School choice disproportionately benefits the wealthy)

It’s a very simple idea —

Since there are multiple arguments in a debate (and there will be many, many more arguments in more debates as you become a better debater), it is essential to flow to keep track of the argumentative progression. Judges will also flow to help keep track of the arguments.

When you flow, you want to do so in columns, writing down the arguments made by each speaker in each column. When responses are given, you want to write the responses down in each of the subsequent columns, placing the response next to the argument (which is why debaters want

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