Article II: competitor practices

  1. Forensics competitors shall not use fabricated or distorted evidence.
    1. Evidence is defined as factual material (statistics and examples) and/or opinion testimony offered as proof of a debater's or a speaker's contention, claim, position, argument, point or case.
    2. Fabrication of evidence refers to falsely representing a cited fact or statement of opinion as evidence when the material in question is not authentic. Fabricated evidence is so defined without reference to whether or not the debater or speaker using it was the person responsible for fabricating it.
    3. Evidence is presumed ethical when it has a complete source, no internal omissions or unmarked additions, and is not directly contradicted by the text immediately before and after the quoted material. Distorted evidence refers to misrepresenting the actual or implied content of factual or opinion evidence. Distorted evidence is so defined without reference to whether or not the debater or speaker using it was the person responsible for distorting it. Distortions shall be judged by comparing the challenged evidence against the material as it appears in the original source. Distortions include, but are not limited to:
      1. quoting out of context
      2. misinterpreting the evidence so as to alter its meaning.
      3. omitting salient information from quotations or paraphrases. MLA Standards will be considered advisory with respect to this standard.
      4. adding words to a quotation which were not present in the original source of the evidence without identifying such an addition.
      5. failure to provide a complete citation of the evidence. Citations should be as complete as possible to serve the goals of allowing others to find the source and allowing the debaters/judges in the round to argue/evaluate the quality of the source. Not all evidence citation issues are ethical violations. Complete citations should include (name of author(s), source of publication, full date, page numbers (where relevant), and author(s)’ credentials where available in the original when challenged. Debaters and speakers are expected to be in possession of the forms of documentation listed here at the time they used any evidence which was challenged.
      6. Failure to provide complete documentation of electronically retrieved evidence, including:
        1. Name of author(s), source of information, full date, and author(s) credentials where available;
        2. The nature and type of the electronic site identified in the evidence citation [e.g., "listserve," "Lexis/Nexis,"] for any source which isn’t a public webpage.
        3. A full current Universal Resource Locator (URL) when applicable [e.g.,], and a complete title for the material quoted where available.
  2. Forensics competitors are expected to do their own research. Learning to research should be considered a primary value. Competitors’ experience should result in research competence.

    1. Persons other than the forensic competitor and their undergraduate team members (such as graduate students or instructor/coaches) are not to get charged with the primary responsibility for doing a forensics competitor's research.
    2. This provision shall not be construed to prevent coaches or assistants from engaging in collaborative research designed to:
      1. teach research techniques
      2. provide examples of high quality research
      3. identify areas of research which students should pursue, and
      4. provide the coach with the working knowledge necessary to function as effective critic with respect to the debate or speech topics being investigated by his/her students.
  3. All forensics participants are expected to compete honestly and fairly. Students are not to intentionally lose debates or perform badly in individual events rounds for the purpose of allowing other competitors to benefit as a result. Directors of forensics, judges and coaches are not to encourage dishonesty in competition by asking students to purposely lose or do poorly in rounds of forensics competition.