Top 10 Characteristics of Debate

Some Characteristics of the debate More important are its informative function, its arguments and persuasive capacity, among others.

A debate is an activity where two opposing points of view are put forward, using valid arguments to convince a hearing about the position that is supported.

Two teams debating.  One of the characteristics of the debate is the division into two opposing positions.

It has been present among humans since childhood. A child can discuss with his parents about eating a sweet or not and a student can do about what career to study.

In the school environment, the debates are Dynamic tools To develop subjects of study and to practice the art of speaking in public. Two teams are conformed.

Each of them is prepared by collecting information to defend or attack a certain idea. First, the participants are evaluated by a jury and then by the teacher.

Political debate is very popular during election campaigns. Usually two candidates are presented, each with their proposals, which they defend through the exposition of reasons and benefits that justify them. US presidential debates are viewed globally on television and many are especially remembered.

The Participants in a debate

  • A moderator, whose function is to enforce the established rules.
  • Two teams that defend opposing points of view.
  • A hearing.

You may also like these 20 topics to debate in groups (controversial) .

List with 10 fundamental characteristics of the debate

1- It is informative

In a debate, complete facts-based information is presented that serves to make the public aware of all the details they need to know about the topic to be addressed.

It also aims to educate viewers and help them create their own criteria in order to achieve a total and logical understanding of the facts.

The people who participate in the debate must master the subject in order to be able to provide the audience with the concrete facts and sufficient evidence that supports each of their positions on the subject matter.

It is not appropriate for them to rely only on their particular views and approaches, but to be able to put principles, bases and other general aspects on the subject to be discussed.

2- It is based on firm arguments

Arguments are all those reasons that together explain, justify or refute an idea.

In a debate, the arguments put forward must be logical, competent, relevant and must be explained in an extensive way. They should also have a link or direct relationship with the subject being dealt with.

The function of the arguments is to provide support to verify the statement that is made, which is why they must be clearly explained to get the audience to understand them perfectly.

It should be noted that a debate is not a discussion, as it is supported by verifiable facts.

3- It is persuasive

One of the objectives of the people participating in a debate is to convince as many people as possible of the position or vision they have about the subject.

The debate promotes a thought or opinion, so it is necessary for participants to effectively and intelligently present each of their arguments.

It is common that political debates are used between different candidates for positions of popular election. Obviously, the idea is to persuade as many voters to lean towards the option that each one represents.

On the other hand, it is important that a empathy With the audience and in some way help her understand each of the points explained.

4- It is tidy

A debate is governed by a series of rules Strict. The moderator of the debate is in charge of enforcing these rules, which have been established previously and are known by the participants.

The rules govern the conduct of those who participate in the debate; The time that each speaker can present his ideas or the methodology with which the information must be presented, among other aspects.

5- It is dynamic

In a debate two opposing visions are set out on a particular subject, each represented by a team.

The development of the debate is dynamic because the important points are questioned by one and answered by the other, many times during the exhibition of an idea.

This dynamic must be in accordance with the rules previously established. In every response from one team to the other, there must be precision, avoiding rambling or talking about issues that have no relation to the questioning done.

6- Is representative

The nature of the debate is, as already mentioned, giving space to two antagonistic points of view to expose an audience to a series of facts and theories that support their vision.

It is representative because the audience identifies with one of the two positions, feeling in some way incorporated into the activity. The participants in the debate are also the voice of all those who share the same ideals and opinions.

7- It is limited

The debate has an established time limit for each intervention of the participants. For this reason, it is necessary that the ideas be presented in a concise and clear way to take advantage of the time granted. The moderator is responsible for controlling this variable.

8- Is competitive

One of the discussion definitions includes the following words:" It is a competition (a challenge, a challenge) between two antagonists, in which, unlike what happens in a simple discussion, there is a third party (a judge, an auditorium) whose approval the two contestants seek ."(Cattani, 2003).

The participants of the debate seek to win, that is, to convince the audience that their ideas are better supported, so there is an environment of competition with the opposite option .

9- Try to clarify a topic

Given the large amount of information, facts and other data presented in a debate, it is almost a consequence that the topic, in general terms, is clear enough for the audience.

10- It offers a conclusion

A debate should always end with a closure that allows the audience to create their own criteria and probably decide to support either option.

Each team must present its own synthesis in a way that makes it easier for the audience to remember the most important points that were addressed.


  1. Fleming, G. (2016). ThoughtCo: What Is a Debate? Retrieved from:
  2. Cattani, A. (2003). The Uses of Rhetoric . Madrid, Alianza Ensayo.
  3. Sánchez, G. The debate in the classroom as a learning and evaluation tool . Madrid, ICADE Pontificia Comillas University of Madrid.
  4. Characteristics of Debate. Retrieved from:
  5. Characteristics of Debate, Dialogue and Deliberation Table. Retrieved from:

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