A Selected, Annotated Bibliography on Debate Judging, 1915-1964

James C. McCroskey

Pennsylvania State University

The following bibliography of debate judging is selected from articles in nearly all of the major speech publications and the publications listed by the Reader's Guide and the Education Index. It is part of an annotated bibliography on all phases of debate presently being developed. These fifty articles are by no means all of the articles published since 1915 that refer to judging. These are, in the opinion of this writer, the more significant articles. Articles which make only passing reference to judging or are critical of it without making suggestions for improvement are not included. Articles reporting formal research are indicated by an asterisk. Articles from the Speaker of Tau Kappa Alpha and the Forensic of Pi Kappa Delta have been omitted because volumes of these publications were unavailable.



1. Wisner, Harold E. "Judging the Negative Counterplan," II (March, 1951), 11-14. A discussion of the burden of proof in a debate when a counterplan is introduced.

2. Giffin, Kim and Megill, Kenneth.* "Stock Issues in Tournament Debates," XII (Autumn, 1960), 27-32. Report of a study designed to determine what stock issues are most important in competitive debate and at what point in the debate the judge becomes aware of the major issue.


3. Walker, J. E. and Olsen, W. H. "Debate Judges Should Remain Awake," XXVIII (Feb., 1954), 367-369. Two high school debate coaches comment on judging and administration problems at college sponsored tournaments.


4. Musgrave, George M. "The Wells-O'Neill controversy," II (Dec., 1946), 218. A summary and analysis of the debate over the basis for judging school debates involving O'Neill, Davis, Sarett, and Wells in the QJS between 1915-1918.

5. _____. "An Attempt to Answer Some Questions On Judging," II (Dec., 1946), 246 f. Discussion of judging under six difficult circumstances.

6. _____. "Debate Judging," III (June, 1947), 78-80. A method of determining which team did "the better debating" is discussed.

7. _____. "Elements of Double Summary Judging," IV (Summer, 1948), 95-97. Summary and bibliography of this special method of judging.


8. Krueger, Richard F. "The Reliability of Debate Judges," XXXII (Nov., 1949), 6. A discussion of the problems involved in debate judging and how these lead to unreliability of decisions.

9. Kline, Donald F.* "Effect of Debate Skills on Delivery," XXXV (March, 1953) 59-60. Research is reported concerning delivery in debate and its relation to other criteria on a rating scale.

10. Scott, Robert L.* "The Objectivity of Debate Judges," XXXVII (Nov., 1954), 14-15. Research is reported indicting that debate judges' bias on the question does not affect their judging.

11. Kruger, Arthur N. "Judging the Tournament Debate Judge," XXXVII (Jan., 1955), 31. An extensive description of a method of evaluating debate judges.

12. Olson, Donald O. "Suggestions For Judging Debates," XLI (Nov., 1958), 13. An outline of points to consider in judging a debate.

13. Giffin, Kim and Megill, Kenneth.* "A Study of the Use of Key Issues in Tournament Debates," XLIII (Nov., 1960), 3. See No. 2 above.

14. Haston, Bruce M. "Have We Forgotten Quality?" XLIII (Nov., 1960), 5-6. The use of student judges is severely criticized.

15. Wigley, Joseph A. "The Art of Persuading Whom?" XLIII (May, 1961), 67-68. The use of subject matter "experts" as debate judges is recommended.


16. O'Neill, James M. "A Disconcerted Editor and Others," I (Apr., 1915), 76. The first in a series of articles on the philosophy of debate and the basis for judging it.

17. Davis, William Hawley. "Debating as Related to Non-Academic Life," I (July, 1915), 105-113. The suggestion is first made that debate should be judged on the basis of the argument presented.

18. _____. "Is Debating Primarily a Game?" II (Apr., 1961), 171-180. Judging debate on the basis of the "skill of the debaters" makes debate a game. It should be judged on the basis of the argument instead.

19. Sarett, Lew R. "The Expert Judge of Debate," III (Apr., 1917), 135-139. A discussion of the qualifications a debate judge should have.

20. Pease, Raymond B. "The Audience as the Jury," III (July, 1917), 218-223. A suggestion for a three part decision in debate; audience, students from speech classes, and debate coaches.

21. Hollister, R. O. T. "Faculty Judging," III (July, 1917), 235-241. Debate instructors should be the only judges used for local contests.

22. Wells, Hugh Neal. "Judging Debates," III (Oct., 1917), 336-345. Debate must be judged solely upon the merits of the argument presented.

23. O'Neill, J. A. "The Juryman's Vote in Debate," III (Oct., 1917), 346-355. Decisions should be on the basis of the skill demonstrated by the debaters, not whether they are right or wrong.

24. Wells, H. N. and O'Neill, J. M. "Judging Debates," IV (Jan., 1918), 76-92. The writers debate the basis for decision in debate.

25. Wells, H. N. "Coaching Debates," IV (Mar., 1918), 170-183. Includes further discussion of the basis for debate decisions.

26. _____. O'Neill, J. M., and Sarett, L. R. "Juryman or Critic--A Final Reply," IV (Oct., 1918), 398-433. The final papers in the running debate between Wells and O'Neill on the basis for decisions in debate. Sarett casts a ballot in favor of O'Neill's position.

27. Klingbeil, Henry C. "Debate or Politics?" XIV (Apr., 1928), 218-223. A criticism of debate judging and a comparison of American and British styles of debate.

28. Holcomb, Martin J.* "The Critic-Judge System," XIX (Feb., 1933), 28-38. Report of a survey of attitude toward the critic-judge system.

29. Johnson, T. Earle. "How Should Debates Be Judged?" XXI (June, 1935), 396-399. Instructions for judges and a ballot used in Alabama.

30. Wood, Kenneth Scott. "Is the Decision Element a Detriment to High School Debating Objectives," XXV (Apr., 1939), 254-261. A discussion of the evils "inherent" in judging and an appeal for abolishing decisions.

31. Westerfield, Hargis. "Decision Debating: A Philosophy," XXVIII (Feb., 1942), 24-27. Decision debating is defended in spite of weaknesses in judging.

32. Laase, Leroy T.* "An Evaluation of the Quality Rating System in Measuring Debate Achievement," XXVIII (Dec., 1942), 424-430. Research is reported indicating that the quality rating system is satisfactory for judging debate. A correlation between student and faculty judging is also indicated.


33. Roever, James and Giffin, Kim.* "A Study of the Use of Judging Criteria in Tournament Debate," VIII, No. 1 (1960), 12-14. Research is reported indicating that "professional" and "non-professional" judges judge on the same bases and that these bases closely relate to the objectives of debate training.

34. Sillars, Malcom, O. "A Note on Tournament Judging," VIII, No. 2 (1960), 21-22. A program including token payment for judges is recommended for overcoming judging problems in tournaments.

35. Mader, Thomas. "The Need For Standards," IX, No. 1 (1961), 4-6. A proposal for establishing standards, including certification of judges, coaches, and ballots among other items.

36. James, Herbert L.* "Standards for Judging Refutation," IX, No. 2 (1961), 21-25. A survey of 57 debate coaches concerning 29 items related to judging.

37. Clark, William K. "Debate Judging: Implications of the James Study," IX, No. 4 (1961), 1-5. A discussion of debate judging based upon the James study above (36).


38. Myers, W. "Grading a Debate," XV (Mar., 1944), 232. A discussion of the factors a judge should consider in reaching a decision. Examples of three types of ballots are included.

39. Unruh, A. "Evaluation Blank," XXI (Oct., 1949), 43-44. A ten point ballot is presented and discussed.

40. Holm, James N. "A Philosophy of Judging Debate," V (Jan., 1940), 5-11. A discussion of the theory of debate and criteria for judging it.

41. Melzer, Dorothy Garrett. "Suggestions For Improving Debate Judging," XVIII (Sept., 1952), 43-51. A discussion of weaknesses in judging in tournaments and six methods of improving it.

42. King, Thomas and Clevenger, Theodore, Jr.* "A Comparison of Debate Results Obtained by Participant and Critic Judging," XXV (Spring, 1960), 223-232. Research is reported indicating substantial disagreement between debaters and judges on decisions, ratings, and rankings in a tournament.


43. Layton, Charles R. "How Can We Secure More Uniformity in Debate Judging in the Future?" V (Summer, 1949), 60-62. A method is proposed for making judging of academic debates more uniform.


44. Giffin, Kim.* "A Study of the Criteria Employed by Tournament Debate Judges," XXVI (Mar., 1959), 69-71. Reports the criteria used in reaching decisions by judges at the "Heart of America" tournament.


45. Nebergall, Roger E. "The Negative Counterplan," VI (Sept. 1957), 217-220. Discussion of the theory of counterplan debating and suggested criteria for judging it.


46. Drum, Dale D. "The Debate Judge as a Machine," IV (Apr., 1956), 28-31. A criticism of the stress on the mechanical aspects of debate. A suggestion that judges stop taking notes and/or audiences replace critic judges.

47. Kruger, Arthur N. "The Debate Judge As A Critical Thinker," V (Jan., 1957), 29-31. A reply to the Drum article above (46).


48. Betz, Edward S.* "An Analysis of Tournament Ballots," IV (Jan., 1940), 16-17. A study is reported on debate ballots indicating differences between decisions by "coach-judges" and "local-judges."

49. Long, Emmet T. "The Debate Judge and the Rhetorical Critic," VI (Jan., 1952), 21-23. Debates should be judged on the use of logical proof and arrangement, not total rhetorical skills.

50. Wheater, Stanley B. "A Critics' Symposium," XVI (May, 1952), 153-158. It is suggested that judges give their opinions as to what constitutes good debating at a meeting at the outset of a tournament. Six sample statements are included.

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