The American Forensic Association views the encouragement and active support of research in argument, public advocacy, and forensic activities as a crucial part of its mission. Our members employ many methods in pursuing knowledge of argument and its role in education and society. The result is a wide variety of research studies. Some of our members pursue theoretical work, formulating ways to understand and explain the process and effects of argument in various social venues including the governmental, the social, the interpersonal, wherever humans use reasoning within their communication. Others are historians of the practice of argument and its influences on society, establishing a record and an appreciation of the importance of argument in the institutions of democracy. Still others are critics of argument, seeking to improve argumentative practice by bringing our knowledge of argument to bear in evaluating contemporary argument. Because the tradition of forensics focuses our attention on ways in which we can educate through forensic activities, research into techniques of instruction and the influence of our teaching are vital topics for our research support.
In support of this research the organization pursues a number of programs. In addition to the programs below, our annual convention features programs in which researchers exchange their work.
Our research program is directed by our Research Committee.
- Alta conference Held 4-7 August 2005 in Alta, Utah, in the mountains near Salt Lake City and cosponsored with the National Communication Association and the University of Utah. Now online: Tables of Contents for Alta Conference Proceedings.
- Argumentation and Advocacy. Published quarterly. The major American journal in argumentation theory and research.
- Brockriede Award Grant Recipient 2007, Named to honor one of the leading scholars of argument in the twentieth century, the biennial Brockriede grants are awarded competitively to support research in argumentation.
- Daniel Rohrer Memorial Outstanding Research Award The organization annually honors one of its important researchers in argumentation theory by recognizing the outstanding research monograph from the previous year. Call for 2008 Award Nominations
Outstanding Dissertation or Thesis Award The organization honors graduate student research with the award for the Outstanding Dissertation or Thesis in argumentation research. Call for 2008 Award Nominations.