Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School


First Advisor

Wayne L. Hoogestraat


The purpose of this study is to determine the veracity and verifiability of evidence cited or alluded to in the 1980 South Dakota State High School Championship Debate Tournament More specifically, this study represents an attempt to find answers to the following questions: 1. Can the researcher identify the specific sources of and allusions to evidence as presented? 2. How complete is the oral documentation for each of the identified citations or allusions to evidence? 3. How accurate is the documentation for each of the citations and/or allusions? 4. How accurate is the reported content of each of the citations and allusions in those instances where documentation is complete? Gerald H. Sanders, the Director of Forensics. at Wooster College, has noted that the research demands of current competitive debate are much greater than they Were twenty years ago. With this increased proliferation of the use of evidence, questions have arisen concerning the veracity of evidence. Throughout nine years of personal experience in competitive debate both as a competitor and as a judge, allegations of the misuse of evidence have been witnessed. Douglas Ehninger and Wayne Brockriede have addressed this misuse of evidence. They wrote that "Deliberate falisification not only violates the principles of critical deliberation but constitutes dishonesty of the worst sort.” They have indicated that the implications for the debater using such evidence are that the discovery of misused evidence "… casts suspicion... on the integrity of the debater.” This study is designed to analyze the pervasiveness of this practice within a selected sample. In 1964, William R. Dresser conducted a study which viewed evidence practices in collegiate debate. James Benson later conducted a similar study dealing with Collegiate debate. This current study differs from both Dresser's and Benson’s studies in that (1) it is an evaluation of the practices of high school debate and (2) it covers an event which occurred at a later date. Therefore, no possible duplication exists. The current study is intended to provide insights. Concerning the present practices in the use of evidence in South Dakota High School debate. By noting the verifiability and veracity of quoted material or implied evidence, coaches and students alike may become more 4ware of the ethical and utilitarian considerations in the use of evidence. The following procedures were undertaken in an attempt to answer the questions raised under the statement of purpose. 1. A specific review of literature related to this particular study was judged inappropriate due to the nature of the inquiry. At the outset, the project involved viewing an event that had yet to take place, therefore excluding the possibility of prior research identical to the present inquiry. However, research may have been conducted dealing with similar events. Therefore, the following guides were surveyed to determine if any related studies had been completed. The study was conducted at the South Dakota High School Championship Debate Tournament held in Huron, South Dakota, on February 29 and March 1, 1980. Permission was granted to conduct the study by Ralph Wilkinson, Assistant Executive Secretary of the South Dakota High School Activities Association.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Debates and debating
Evidence, Documentary
Debates and debating -- South Dakota



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University