Thesis Title

A Comparative Analysis of the Accuracy of Win-Loss Records, Speaker Rank Totals and Opposition Records in Predicting Debate Outcomes

Date of Graduation

Summer 1979

Degree

Master of Arts in Communication

Department

Communication

Committee Chair

Donal Stanton

Subject Categories

Communication

Abstract

Measurement of the quality of debate performance in order to select teams which will advance to elimination rounds is an integral part of any debate tournament. Missouri high school tournaments measure team performance by using win-loss records, speaker rank totals and opposition records but such criteria have not been scientifically validated. The purpose of this study was to scientifically ascertain the relative reliability of criteria commonly employed in measuring excellence in contest debate. Data from 929 debates for the 1977-78 school year was analyzed. The statistical findings of this study demonstrates the validity of both win-loss records and speaker rank totals in predicting debate outcomes and expose the apparent inability of opposition records in predicting debate results. The implication of this study is that win-loss records and speaker rank totals but not opposition records should be used in determining teams for debate elimination rounds.

Copyright

© William Thomas Gist

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