Cross Examinations

The debate will have four cross-examinations, after the four constructives: the 2N crossing the 1A, the 1A crossing the 1N, the 1N crossing the 2A, and the 2A crossing the 2N.

The first cross-examination is after the 1AC, when the 2N crosses the 1A.

The second cross-examination is after the 1NC, when the 1A crosses the 1N.

The third cross-examination is after the 2AC, when the 1N crosses the 2A.

The fourth cross-examination is after the 2NC, when the 2A crosses the 2N.

Tips for Cross-Examination

First, recognize there are three different types of questions: clarification, perceptual, and strategic. Clarification questions are for when you genuinely don’t understand something, perhaps due to not having flowed it. These are sometimes necessary but should be minimized if possible. Perceptual questions aim at making an opponent look silly by pointing out a gap but don’t necessarily advance a strategic objective (for example, questioning a card they are not likely to extend). Strategic questions aim less at making the opponent look silly but instead focus on setting up a strategy. All of these question types have merit sometimes.

Second, strike the right balance between assertiveness and rudeness. Being a doormat in cross-examination is ineffective but being rude is also ineffective and might alienate the judge. Record yourself in cross-examination to get a better sense of how you might be coming across.

Third, go into cross-examination with a plan ahead of time. Try to avoid asking questions that you don’t know the answer to – set traps early and often for your opponent to fall into.