If you're looking for specific tournament information you can either go directly to the Northern California Forensics Association (NCFA.org) website or email the instructor (velascolauren@fhda.edu) if the information you seek is not provided by the NCFA site.

Typical Tournament Categories:

Impromptu: Each speaker is given three (3) topics from which to select one topic on to speak on. There is a seven (7) minute maximum time limit that begins when the topics are received by the speaker. Speakers may divide the seven (7) minutes between preparation and presentation as desired though usually 2 minutes is used for preparation and 5 minutes is used for speaking time. Topics may include one word abstracts, quotations or lyrics.

Informative: The purposes of the informative speeches are to describe, clarify, explain and/or define an object, idea, concept or process. The maximum time limit for this prepared speech is usually 10 minutes.

Persuasive: The purpose of the persuasive speech is to convince, stimulate, or actuate. Speakers are tasked to persuade the audience to change their attitudes, beliefs, values, or behaviors. The maximum time limit for this prepared speech is usually 10 minutes.

Interpretative: Interpretive pieces should come from previously published works. Interpretive performances can use any single genre or combination of the following:

  • Drama - a cutting or cuttings from a play, teleplay or screenplay, featuring monologue or dialogue
  • Prose - literature printed mainly in paragraph form
  • Poetry - rhymed or unrhymed meter or cadence of some regularity
  • If more than one selection is used, these selections should be linked thematically
  • All programs must include an introduction. This event requires a script with binder and forbids the use of props. Maximum lime limit is 10 minutes including introduction.

Extemporaneous: Extemp draw usually happens 30 minutes prior to the start of each round, except in final rounds). Efforts are often made to limit panels to 4 competitors.

Parliamentary Debate: Students typically receive fifteen minutes of preparation time to support or oppose resolutions of fact, value, or policy. Standard time limits are usually used in most tournaments. The standard format for speaker times are often the traditional NPDA 7-8-8-8-4-5.


Helpful Debate Links