Cross Examination


Each debater is cross-examined by an opponent after he/she has given the constructive speech.
The appropriate order is on the “Order of Speaking” and “evaluation” forms attached.
The major purpose of the cross-examination in debate is to test the validity of the opposition’s information.  The purpose of Cross-questioning is to:

  • Find fault in the opposition’s evidence wherever possible
  • Weaken the opposition’s evidence if it cannot be destroyed
  • Extract any new evidence that may prove useful to the examiner
  • Expose the opposition member if he/she was untruthful or distorted information
  • The affirmative team uses cross-questioning to isolate the negative team’s objections to the proposition.
  • The negative team uses cross-questioning to find fault in, and weaken the affirmative team’s case.

1.  Examiner

Ask clear, well-developed questions in order to clarify or challenge the respondent’s constructive speech.
Ask questions phrased in a courteous manner.  Allow the respondent to answer and avoid any arguing.  A respondent who tends to answer in a lengthy fashion may be politely “cut off” with a “thank you”.

2.  Respondent

The respondent should answer his/her questions clearly and specifically in order to reveal a solid understanding of the issue and to ward off any attempts to undermine, or weaken the evidence presented.  Avoid arguing or asking a question of the examiner, unless clarification of the examiner’s original question.

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