[eDebate] And if they could only root for decent baseball teams...

Ede Warner ewarner
Thu Jul 19 21:46:53 CDT 2007

CEDA-40 is yet another reason that Gordon Stables is my hero.  I love
Joe Patrice, in spite of his relationship with Will Baker.  And finally,
I have decided to cut all ties with Darren, who has cursed by 10 year
old son with his call to come to KC.  While I appreciate and respect the
offer, as his mentor and agent, my job is to make sure he can average 40
hr., 40 steals, 150 rbi, and hit .350 in the majors by the time he is
20, with a rocket arm behind the plate.  As his agent, I'm looking for
more than A-Rod money.  Our pitch- Chris has leadership skills...And I'm
trying to cut back on the bbq so that's another reason to avoid Kaufman
'nuff said.

>>> Gordon Stables <stables at usc.edu> 7/19/2007 5:50 PM >>>

If past practice is any indication, once the topic is announced the
discussion will focus on more immediate questions and analysis. Before
we, as a group, make that adjustment let me introduce a significant
research and analysis process to our membership. In just a few years
(2011) CEDA will celebrate its 40th anniversary. One of the primary
tasks of the 2nd VP is to coordinate research conducted at the CEDA
Nationals tournament and through the organization?s efforts. It is my
belief that my beginning an organized campaign now we will have a
process that will allow the organization to have acted on those ideas
before it turns 40. That project is something called CEDA-40.
I am not a fan of totalizing historical comparisons about debate, but
it is hard to dispute we do precious little to analyze our own activity
in any organized form and then share those insights with the larger
community. Throughout the history of organized intercollegiate debate a
variety of written forms existed to let the community learn and share
from each other. Some were formal, refereed journals and some took the
form of articles in handbooks. I suspect among many of us learned not
only from the people we interacted with, but also by reading the work of
some very talented people. In order to have a truly proud celebration of
CEDA we need to take the time to apply our impressive analytical and
research skills inward, even if just for a short time.
I do not romanticize the idea that we can, or should, encourage our
diverse community to narrow their efforts into a single rigid
professional discipline. The fact that we all have different
professional relationships to debate does not, however, mean we cannot
take time to examine the activity we care do deeply about and then share
those conclusions. When I first became involved in the topic process I
was amazed how much research and analysis our community produces each
year. Last year on the court topic, for example, dozens of folks
contributed hundreds upon hundreds of pages of research analysis. Ever
had that moment where you google a debate subject and find a wording or
controversy paper? I think it is time for the community to google our
practices, institutions, and goals and have the same success. It doesn?t
matter if you are a student, alum, professor, professional coach,
volunteer, attorney, parent or just an interested party ? we need to
rebuild our collective community knowledge base.
For easy reading here are some questions and answers about this
What is CEDA 40? 

A collection of community research and opinion organized into a
strategic planning document. The document will:

1.     Conceptualize important challenges and opportunities confronting
the CEDA community 

2.     Begin to develop reforms designed to promote the organization?s
goals in time for the organization?s 40th anniversary (in 2011)

In other words, it is a collection of original perspectives and
research by the CEDA community. This document is an organized means of
allowing the community to learn to the experiences, perspectives and
research by other community members.
What kind of topics should people research and analyze?

This is the question to be determined by you as members of our

community. Instead of relying on informal conversation, momentary chats
on edebate or other informal forms, this process gives people the
opportunity to take a more orderly and well-developed assessment. Some
of the possible areas for analysis include:
?      The Organizations that make up the community (CEDA, NDT, ADA,
AFA, etc.)
The procedures, practices, leadership structure, schedules, etc.

?      Our Competitive Practices
Tournaments, Judging, Argumentative Practices 

?      Membership (The CEDA Community)
Schools, Coaches, Debaters ? Who are these populations? How are they

What form should these efforts take?

?      Summaries of current practices 
Once upon a time vicious battles raged over debate theory in journals
and other sites. There are occasional posts, but we could certainly use
some contemporary means of assessing the desirability of argumentative

?      Statistical analysis (metrics or surveys)
How much debate is there in a given season? Do we know much bigger or
smaller a region is in the last decade? Do shorter topic wordings
produce greater novice retention? Are there positive or negative trends
in nature of gender participation? We see lots of opinions, but much
less in the way of orderly analysis. We have the wonderful tool of
debateresults to allow folks to build these research questions from
several years worth of data. There are, of course, earlier records that
may provide interesting points of comparisons. 

?      Case studies
There are plenty of occasions where conventional wisdom is produced by
the most basic of information. We have amazing folks in the community
who have started programs, re-started programs, helped them expand, and
yes, seen programs wither and die. What happened? What makes the
difference? I know there are about 1,000,000,000 edebate posts on the
subject but what about a 5 page detailed explanation about how the
successes or failure took place by a debater or coach involved in that

?      Reaction (editorial) essays
Perhaps you would like the opportunity to write a lengthy defense of
the organizations goals, missions, or trends. Perhaps you have
experiences with teaching, recruitment or recruitment that you would
like to share. Maybe you just want to rant. Here is your chance.

?      Reform proposals
When I witnessed the discussion of NDT redistricting a few years ago
one I was unprepared to appreciate how much of our planning is directed
at short-term efforts. By necessity we are all worried about the next
topic, the next season, the next tournament, the next class, the next
meeting, the next paycheck, time with our family, sleep, etc. There are
plenty of items that can and should be debated for reform in the
near-term, but there are also some fundamental questions that cannot
(and shouldn?t be) done at the last minute. Do you think we should
fundamentally revisit some form of how we organize, compete or teach? We
need the type of developed proposals that can serve as the foundation
for important efforts.
Submitted materials will be organized and included in an edited volume
that thematically organizes the materials. It will be produced as a
free, publicly available e-book. Thanks to the cooperation of incoming
CEDA journal editor Al Louden, outstanding submissions will be
considered for inclusion in a future issue ofContemporary Argumentation
and Debate: The Journal of the Cross Examination Debate Association.

The deadline for submissions in December 15, 2008. This gives everyone
almost 18 months to develop, plan and produce research. This also allows
individuals, or groups, to conduct research at the 2007 CEDA Nationals
tournament. This will allow a number of 2009 events to be influence by
this research product. It will be available in time to influence the
development of the 2009 NCA Panels, the 2009 Summer Argument in Alta
(which is bi-annual) as well as the business meetings of both CEDA and
the NDT.
This is a call for everyone involved with the 
CEDA community to find
the time between now and December of 2008 to stop, reflect and add to
the body of knowledge that makes up our activity. Maybe you like
summarizing and explaining current practices. Great. Maybe you want to
analyze the demographics of a specific tournament or region. Awesome.
Maybe you have some ideas abut how to restructure our organizational or
regional processes. Wonderful. 
Tomorrow the topic will be out and the next set of urgencies will fill
all of our lives. I am not asking anyone to write a report this weekend.
I am asking that everyone stop and assess if you can add to the body of
knowledge that our community relies upon. I will regularly post and
encourage participation, but please consider taking part. This is your
community and it needs a small fraction of the research and analytical
skills that we possess.
Thanks for reading.

Gordon Stables, Ph.D.
Director of Debate and Forensics
Annenberg School for Communication
University of Southern California
Office: 213 740 2759               Fax: 213 740 3913
http://usctrojandebate.com ( http://usctrojandebate.com/ )
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