What is debating?

In essence, a debate can be an excellent element in aiding academic growth- whilst promising to be an engaging activity for students. When debating, your opponent and you (or opposing groups) are presented with the same topic, on which you must take a stance that is for or against the topic in question.

The task at hand requires that both parties support their respective positions with strong arguments, ideally reinforced by sound evidence. In this sense, you may think of a debate as an interesting way to approach certain issues, using different arguments, and engaging with your opponent in a strategic manner. Thus, it is something like an intellectual, and civilised means of argumentation.

What makes a good debater?

Typically, a third party (objective) judge would decide how persuasively the competitors have argued their position. Such judgement is usually made through three overarching criteria:

1.Content: What is said, the arguments and examples/evidence used.
2. Strategy: How well you engage with the topic, respond to other arguments and structure what you say.
3.Style: How you present your points, and the language and voice you use.

List of Debate Topics

Here is a list of some debate topic suggestions for you. Bear in mind that this list has been comprised from ideas and topics I have taken from debating websites, research, and so forth. As such, you may find the links to these sites at the end of this post if you wish to look further into debate topic ideas.

  1. Social networking platforms: are they an effective tool for quick and convenient communication, or are they just a sophisticated means for stalking people
  2. Modi Vs. No Modi (An Election Like a Referendum)
  3. Cricket Vs. Other Sports
  4. States Vs. Union
  5. Alternative sources of energy: how are they effective
  6. It is unethical to eat meat.
  7. Growth Vs. Jobs
  8. A person cannot be whole while most of the world is broken.
  9. The United States should ban the death penalty.
  10. A presidential form of government would be better than the current parliamentary system.
  11. All Americans should be required to provide one year of national service.
  12. The United States should close its Guantanamo prison.
  13. All middle schools should require student uniforms.
  14. Debating in school: does it help children get engaged in the classroom?
    Which would you choose: to be honest and poor or dishonest and rich?
  15. Is there a plausible reason for the American war on terror?
  16. Do you think the death penalty should take place in the modern world and why?
  17. Adult-oriented cartoons should only be broadcast on television after 10PM.
  18. All public high schools should have childcare facilities for their students on site.
  19. All public middle schools should have student-run disciplinary courts.
  20. A democracy without effective citizenry for large sections of the political community is democracy only for the few.
  21. All schools should provide students with music and art education.
  22. Animals should not be used for entertainment.
  23. Anyone who watches five days of cricket should be declared brain death.
  24. Are the Olympic Games a waste of money?
  25. Development that sustains the present inequalities is undesirable.
  26. Arranged marriages are better than ‘love’ marriage.
  27. Diet Pills Should be banned
  28. Asian Oyster seeding in the Chesapeake Bay should be banned.
  29. Ban boxing!
  30. Cellular phones should be allowed in schools.
  31. Ban plastic bags in grocery stores.
  32. Development programs hardly ever benefit the poor.
  33. Being unwanted is the most terrible of diseases.
  34. All students should be required to say the Pledge of Allegiance.
    American military involvement in Iraq has done more good than harm.
  35. Birth control/education in schools BU should be a “wet” campus
  36. Boys are higher achievers than girls.
  37. Businesses should not place advertisements in schools.
  38. Cable TV has done more damage than good.
  39. Campaign finance reform Capital punishment
  40. Money is the biggest motivator of people at the workplace.
  41. Capital punishment is unjust and degrading.
  42. Capital punishment should be banned by the United States federal government.
  43. Celebrities should not be role models.
  44. Cigarettes should be illegal.
  45. Americans should not be allowed to burn the United States flag as an act of free speech.
  46. Animal performances should be banned in circuses.
  47. Middle schools should have student lockers.
  48. Money is more important than love.
  49. College athletes should be paid.
  50. Credit cards do more harm than good.
  51. Movies penetrate the deepest corners of one’s soul.
  52. Affirmative action is a good idea
  53. Desert area residents should be required to use desert landscaping.
  54. Drinking Age
  55. Class size in primary and secondary school should not exceed 30 students.
  56. Drug companies should not be allowed to advertise prescription drugs to the general public.
  57. Advertising creates artificial needs.
  58. Drug testing (mandatory) DUI convictions should include mandatory sentences
  59. Elections are not the best test of democracy.
  60. Cloning is immortal and dangerous.
  61. Employment creation should be the chief aim of our planning.
  62. Abortion rights are necessary
  63. Cloning (Human/organs/therapeutic)
  64. Advertisements around schools should be banned..
  65. Algebra should not be required for high school graduation.
  66. English as the official language Federal Funding of Faith-Based Organizations
  67. Extra-terrestrial intelligence exists.
  68. Fossil fuels are easily replaced.
  69. The legal system should have the option to charge juveniles as adults in murder cases.
  70. Fried foods should have warning labels.
  71. College football should be exempted from Title IX requirements.
  72. It is better to be a follower than a leader.
  73. Colleges’ early admissions policies do more harm than good.
  74. Friends are the most important thing in life.
  75. Gambling
  76. Gay marriage Gay adoption of children
  77. GDH (Gross Domestic Happiness) is more important in judging the well-being of a country than GDP (Gross Domestic Product)
  78. Genetic Engineering
  79. Genghis Khan did more good than harm.
  80. It is impossible to eradicate violence in the country.
  81. Gentrification does more harm than good.
  82. Giving money to panhandlers is justified.
  83. Community service should be mandatory in high school.
  84. Congress should pass the “Clear Skies” initiative.
  85. Good economics is good politics.
  86. Gun control Health care/national health insurance
  87. High school students should have to pass a national exit exam to graduate.
  88. Hollywood movies have a good influence on the world or not?
  89. Consumers should not purchase SUVs.
  90. Home schooling does more good than harm.
  91. Fast food restaurants do more harm than good. Agree or not?
  92. Food aid does more harm than good.
  93. It is morally acceptable to experiment on animals for medical purposes.
  94. Football is a better game than cricket for Indian youth.
  95. Homeland security is more important than protection of civil liberties.
  96. In today’s world a ‘culture of death’ is gaining supremacy over a ‘culture of life.’
  97. Ineffective communication is the fault of the communicator.
  98. Iran should be allowed to develop nuclear energy.
  99. September 11 should be made a national holiday.
  100. Is it unethical to eat meat?
  101. Is our nation still unprepared for disasters?
  102. For adolescents, television is a better teacher than books.
  103. It should be illegal to sell coffee and coffee products to minors anywhere in the United States.
  104. James Hahn should be reelected mayor of Los Angeles.
  105. Schools should not use standardized testing.
  106. Job flexibility and job security cannot co-exist.
  107. The U S Government subsidy of the arts should end.
  108. The U. S. should end the embargo on Cuba.
  109. Homework does more good than harm.
  110. In the case of student lockers, school safety is more important than student privacy.
  111. Job security is the biggest motivator than money.
  112. Junior high and high schools should randomly test their athletes for drug use.
  113. Schools should end the practice of giving awards.
  114. Junk food should be banned from school cafeterias and vending machines.
  115. In the contest of global interdependence, security and sovereignty must be re-defined.
  116. Schools should not support competitive interscholastic sports.
  117. Junk food should be banned in schools.
  118. Homework should be banned.
  119. Juveniles should be tried as adults for felonies.
  120. K-12 schools should ban junk food sales.
  121. Letter grades in schools do more harm than good.
  122. Lower the legal drinking age in the U.S. to 18.
  123. Marijuana/or other drugs legalized Obesity Lawsuits
  124. Medical testing on animals does more good than harm.
  125. On balance, George W. Bush has done more good than harm.
  126. Public schools should have single sex classrooms.
  127. On balance, nuclear energy does more good than harm.
  128. Middle grades should require students to wear uniforms.
  129. Middle schools should allow outside food vendors for lunch.
  130. Beauty pageants do more good than harm.
  131. Middle schools should have mandatory drug testing for participation in extracurricular activities.
  132. NAFTA should be extended throughout the Americas.
  133. Nontraditional English should be acknowledged in academia.
  134. On balance, children’s television does more good than harm.
  135. Parents should not purchase war toys for their children.
  136. On balance, special interests are a positive influence in American politics.
  137. Is there a real way of prolonging a human’s life?
  138. Parents should not buy war toys for their children.
  139. Is using humans for clinical trials more ethical than animal testing
  140. Personal responsibility and genetic determinism: is our behavior determined only by our genes?
  141. On balance, video games do more good than harm.
  142. PE should be compulsory in school.
  143. Organ donation should be compulsory for all United States citizens.
  144. Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.
  145. Ought to students necessary to put on school uniform?
  146. Hospital employs should have the right to strike.
  147. Human cloning should be allowed in the United States.
  148. Our problem is not overpopulation but under-population.’
  149. Pakistan is more an enemy than an ally of the United States.
  150. Parental spanking of children should be a crime.
  151. Should the use of animals in sports and entertainment be banned?
  152. Parents should avoid encouraging their children in getting toys which might sow the seeds of violence.
  153. Students should be able to have cell phones at school.
  154. Students should be allowed to chew gum in school.
  155. Released felons should have voting rights.
  156. Parents should be held legally responsible for their children’s actions.
  157. Reservation of seats in Parliament is neither desirable nor helpful to women.
  158. Parents should be punished for their children’s’ mistakes.
  159. Should skateboards be prohibited on sidewalks?
  160. Should there be a curfew for people under 18 years to reduce crime?
  161. Single-sex education is better than co-ed.
  162. Peer pressure does more good than harm.
  163. Peer pressure is more beneficial than harmful.
  164. Physical education in grades K-12 should be compulsory.
  165. Pledge of Allegiance
  166. State high schools should substantially expand vocational training.
  167. Public funds should not be used for professional sports stadiums.
    Puerto Rico should be a state.
  168. Private swimming pools are unethical.
  169. Privatization of Prisons
  170. Professional athletes should be role models.
  171. Should 16 year old people be allowed to get a tattoo?
  172. Should homework assignments be limited to a maximum of three nights a week?
  173. Professional athletes should not be allowed to compete in the Olympic Games.
  174. Students should be punished for failing to report cheating.
  175. State lotteries should be ended.
  176. The movie rating system is ineffective.
  177. States should abolish the death penalty.
  178. Physician-assisted suicide should be legalized.
  179. States should ban drivers’ use of cellular phones in cars.
  180. Rap music does more harm than good.
  181. Stem cell research should be expanded.
  182. SAT/ACT prep classes do more harm than good.
  183. School attendance should be voluntary.
  184. School should be year-round.
  185. School uniforms
  186. Tenure should be abolished Violence/sex on television
  187. School vouchers should be allowed.
  188. Term limits for state legislators should be eliminated.
  189. Schools should ban junk food or not?
  190. Live animal exports should be banned.
  191. Schools should be year round.
  192. Should minorities be treated differentially?
  193. More land should be dedicated as national parks.
  194. Size zero fashion models should be banned.
  195. Is it justified to develop nuclear energy for commercial use?
    Credit cards versus debit cards
  196. Smoking in public places Megan’s Law
  197. Soccer players should wear helmets.
  198. Is it still appropriate to use torture as a part of national security measures?
  199. Social networking technologies will bring about great changes in educational methods, in and out of the classroom.
  200. Spanish should be a mandatory course in public schools.
  201. Is organic farming the future of agriculture?
  202. States should issue drivers’ licenses to undocumented immigrants.
  203. Genetically modified foods (GMOs) should be banned.
  204. Fracking should be banned.
  205. States should legalize physician-assisted suicide.
  206. The continuing introduction of new technologies and new media adds little to the quality of education.
  207. Teachers should not use candy as rewards.
  208. States should provide free wireless internet access.
  209. Television does more harm than good.
  210. States should raise the minimum driving age to 18.
  211. The District of Columbia should become the 51st state.
  212. The effects of economic reforms are trickling down.
  213. States should substantially increase the minimum wage.
  214. Television is a bad influence.
  215. Students should be required to learn a second language for high school graduation.
  216. Students should take parenting classes.
  217. There is more intellect than emotion in our way of life.
  218. There should be mandatory drug testing for all high school athletes in the U.S.
  219. Supreme Court proceedings should be televised.
  220. Teachers should not be allowed to give candy as rewards.
  221. The “digital divide” is a secondary problem in the educational needs of the developing countries.
  222. The American presidential primary and caucus system does more good than harm.
  223. Corporal punishment of children should be illegal.
  224. The assault weapon ban should be extended.
  225. Corruption, the abuse of public power for private gain, cannot be eradicated.
  226. The atomic bombing of Hiroshima was justified.
  227. Cosmetic Surgery
  228. The Bush administration guest worker program should be implemented.
  229. The Constitution should be amended to follow foreign born citizens to serve as President of the United States.
  230. The development of a sound educational and health system insures the nation’s security more than military strength.
  231. The electoral college should be abolished.
  232. Are robots going to increase or decrease our quality of life?
  233. The elimination of global poverty is the greatest moral challenge facing the work today.
  234. Single-sex schools: are they more effective than traditional ones? Why?
  235. The French government should permit students to wear visible religious symbols in state schools.
  236. The gifts people hold in common are more significant than those by which they differ.
  237. Is setting special curfews an effective way to keep teenagers out of trouble?
  238. The image of the human person affirmed by the electronic media is incompatible with Indian values.
  239. The Internet has done more harm than good.
  240. Artificial intelligence is dangerous.
  241. The late-night Metrorail service is a failed transportation experiment.
  242. The NBA player dress code is justified.
  243. Schools should ban animal dissection.
  244. The new economic policy is helping the poor.
  245. Foreign Language Requirement in College
  246. Surveillance of Employees Terrorism Laws
  247. The No Child Left Behind Act does more harm than good.
  248. Women make better teachers than men.
  249. The private life of the politicians is no concern of the public.
  250. The public sector has proved a great failure.
  251. Women have no rights to have an abortion.
  252. The public’s right to know is more important than the privacy of celebrities.
  253. Is setting special curfews an effective way to keep teenagers out of trouble?
  254. The Supreme Court should end affirmative action in higher education.
  255. States should eliminate its “three strikes” law.
  256. The test of democracy is its protection of minority rights.
  257. Should parents have the possibility to ban certain books from libraries and schools?
  258. The treatment of women is steadily improving.
  259. The U.S. invasion of Iraq has done more harm than good.
  260. Is graffiti art just as worthy of regard as classical paintings?
  261. Healthcare should be universal.
  262. The US should eliminate farm subsidies.
  263. Prescription drugs: explain why they should or shouldn’t be advertised to consumers
  264. The United Nations has failed at its mission.
  265. Beauty pageants: are they a way to objectify women
  266. The United Nations Security Council should have no permanent members.
  267. Should insurance cover cosmetic procedures?
  268. The United States Constitution should be amended to establish a mandatory retirement age for Supreme Court Justices.
  269. Smoking should be banned.
  270. The United States Federal Government should ban production of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
  271. The United States government should provide free healthcare for all U.S. citizens.
  272. Is tourism beneficial to an environment?
  273. The United States should amend the constitution to criminalize flag burning.
  274. Is the Paris Agreement relevant anymore?
  275. The sale of fur should be banned.
  276. The United States should eliminate its own weapons of mass destruction.
  277. The United States should open federal lands and offshore areas for oil drilling
  278. The only war worth fighting is the war on poverty.
    The President of the United States should be elected by the direct vote of the people.
  279. Can censorship ever be justified?
  280. Has the #MeToo movement gone too far?
  281. The minimum wage should be lowered (or raised).
  282. The harms of patriotism outweigh the benefits.
  283. Under Indian conditions coalition governments are neither effective nor long lasting.
  284. The United States should pay reparations for slavery.
  285. Voting should be made mandatory.
  286. The United States should significantly expand its use of nuclear power.
  287. Voting rights of United States felons should be reinstated after they have served their time.
  288. The United States should significantly increase space exploration.
  289. There are no bad children, only bad parents.
  290. Women make better politicians than men.
  291. The US prison at Guantanamo Bay should be closed.
  292. The war against child labour is be being lost.
  293. Drug addicts should be helped rather than punished.
  294. Sex work should be legal.
  295. Social media does more harm than good.
  296. The world is getting more (ethical) every year.
  297. There should be mandatory drug testing for participation in extracurricular activities.
  298. There should be year-round schooling for students in grades K-12.
  299. To be eligible for college, a student should have done twelve months social service in reforestation, road building, soil conservation, health or literacy work.
  300. Torture is justified for national security.
  301. You get more news from the radio than from TV.
  302. TV and films influence children more than parents.
  303. The British Monarchy should be abolished.
  304. Should there be limits on the First Amendment (free speech)?
  305. Britain should leave the European Union.
  306. The US should abolish the electoral college.
  307. Churches should pay taxes.
  308. U.S. intervention in Iraq has done more good than harm.
  309. United States military forces should intervene in the Sudan.
  310. Voters should be given the choice “None of the above”
  311. US military involvement in Iraq has done more good than harm.
  312. Companies should be required to hire 50% male and 50% female employees.
  313. Violent video games should be banned.
  314. Studying a second language should be compulsory.
  315. Water rates should be the same price for farmers and residential customers.
  316. Feminism should focus more on men’s rights.
  317. Should standardized testing be abolished?
  318. Should free STD testing be offered in schools?
  319. Are student loans exploitative?
  320. Which is more important money or love?
  321. Should genetic engineering be legal?
  322. Women are underpaid and undervalued.
  323. Religion should be taught in school.
  324. Education should be privatized.
  325. Rich people and large corporations should pay more taxes.
  326. Should the U.N. have a standing army?
  327. Abortion should be available to all women.
  328. Should human cloning be legalized?
  329. Barbie is a good role model for young girls.
  330. Is feminism irrelevant in the 21st century?

Sources: The Economic Times,Hugh Fox III, PapersOwl, The Cambridge Union, Owlcation, ProCon

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Tags- List of Debate Topics, Debate topics 2019, debate topics for college students, debate topics for college students with answers