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May 18, 2013 / compassioninpolitics

What is risk analysis in policy debate?

Usually debates come down to:

• Timeframe versus Risk (10% versus 90%) *****

This is pretty deadly when combined with disad turns the case. (assuming a roughly equal debate)

One other common comparison is–one time disad versus systemic impact Or historically proven versus contrived and hypothetical (I’m sure other people have)

Weighing probabilities on the aft and neg. Comparing risks of various scenarios.

Its usually grouped in with impact comparison.

Link X Impact X Risk = Overall Impact

Same for Aff Advantages

To me, risk analysis tends to give the advantage to the affirmative.

This reverses when the negative has a counter plan and/or disad turns the case (in terms of a policy based strategy) .

You might let that sink in in terms of how powerful it is.

If you want to know more about impact comparison you might look at the Georgetown lecture on
that topic:

(that didn’t show up in Safari, but I assume it will in other major browsers)

There are pretty standard impact comparison standards that are used that you can virtually
plug in as a template. Often, affs are similar too.


These same types of comparisons apply in terms of critique alternatives. And case versus the critique.

Often affirmative underviews contain cards in terms of impact comparsion, risk comparison, and impact filtering and impact framing.

Hints for transforming your debate wins/debate performance (based on this post and my previous post):
1) Doing impact comparison makes you a much better debater and makes you sound far more intelligent–you get the big picture:
2) Read counter plans whenever possible (ie theres not a big disad to the counter plan that you can’t answer)
3) Read disad turns the case or make up a viable one based on intutive or historical trends

You can often have these pre-prepared if not before tournaments, certainly before debates where you know the key arguments that the block or the 2nr is going to go for. (it its going to be Courts counter, politics, a disad, and case in the 2nd). Also, if you’ve read most of the literature for your aff…..particularly the neg., you should be able to make some of these comparisons from the get-go. Certainly after a couple practice debates.


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