Volume 11, 2013

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Volume 11 was launched on December 15th. This edition is the largest MDR published to date featuring one of our best collections of articles from contributors across five continents.

Under the editorship of Mary Nugent the Review harnessed the debating community’s renewed focus on equity with a suite of articles exploring the  treatment of women and minorities in the intervarsity community. Through both empirical and personal perspectives authors make a range of observations and offer suggestions that should be of interest to anyone involved in collegiate debate. This edition also features pieces covering the experiences of  debating societies and communities throughout the world and considers the value of various modern conveniences such as speaker tabs and information slides.

2013 also marks the launch of the new MDR website making articles more accessible and interactive than ever.


Editor in Chief: Mary Nugent
Associate Editors: Andrew Connery, James Kilcup, Madeline Schultz, Zola Valashiya
Publication Manager: Sam Whitney

Volume 11 2013

Editorial / MARY NUGENT

Men Outspeak Women: Analyzing the Gender Gap in Competitive Debate / EMMA PIERSON

Based on analysis of over 35,000 speeches spanning more than a decade, this article discusses the consistent gender gap in speaker scores, and looks at some of its features and possible explanations.

Debate Mode: A New Exploration of Gender in British Parliamentary Debating / CLARA SPERA, NIAMH NÍ MHAOILEOIN AND MUIREANN O’DWYER

Through the use of qualitative interviews and feminist theory and research, this article sheds light on the gender dynamics of British Parliamentary debate circuits.

Language, cultural and religious discrimination in debating: an empirical study / GEMMA BUCKLEY

Following a large scale survey of debaters from around the world, in a discussion of the findings as well as the author’s own observations, this article explores the question of bias and discrimination towards debaters from different national, language and racial backgrounds.

Rooting for the Home Team: Adjudicator’s Bias for Competitors from Their Own Geographical Region / KATE FALKENSTIEN

By analyzing the composition of judging panels and outcomes of rounds, this article demonstrates and discusses a bias toward teams from one’s nation.

Realities of Debate as Development: Dispatches from Cameroon / LILIA KILBURN

An ethnographic approach to understanding extant barriers to the integration of debating societies from developing countries into the global debating community

Treading Carefully: Debate Topic Selection in China / DAVID WEEKS AND ZHANG CHENGMING

This article explores the tricky question of how one navigates debate topic selection within the People’s Republic of China.

Reflections on Debate Development in Southern Africa: on Sustainable Development of Debating Societies / PIETER GJ KOORNHOF

Drawing on the experience of South African debate growth, this article seeks to expand upon best practices for establishing debating societies in a sustainable manner.

‘You Don’t Belong Here’: The Challenges of the Small Society on the Global Debating circuit / JOSHUA TAYLOR

Based on the experience of turning a new, unknown debating society into one that breaks a team at WUDC, this article looks at the challenges facing small societies, offering some suggested strategies to aid success.


A bold case is made that speaker tabs ought to be abolished, as they are both a poor metric and create a bad incentive structure.

The Disinformation slide / STEPHEN M. LLANO

This article makes the case that use of Information Slides subverts the activity of debating in ways that we should be wary of.

Sometimes the Facts Matter: A Case For Information Slides in British Parliamentary Debating / SHENGWU LI

In response to Steve Llano’s article, this piece advocates in favor of Information Slides and their use at tournaments.