Research skills are probably the most important skills a debater gets. Because of the research-oriented nature of the activity, debaters are forced to conduct massive amounts of research throughout their debate careers. These skills transfer over to help debaters in the real world when they’re forced to conduct research for their jobs. Hence, a very large amount of debaters end up in highly-research oriented jobs. These skills also help a lot with school work, as when a debater is assigned a research paper, the amount of time it takes to conduct research is drastically reduced by their efficiency. I’m constantly amazed at how quickly I am able to find articles pertaining to a particular topic in class because of the research skills I’ve been taught through debate. It’s definitely something that’s going to help me a lot throughout my life.
As a college debater, I’ve been actively preparing for districts, which happens this next weekend, for a while now. Considering the amount of time that I spent preparing for the tournament (roughly 16 hours over the last three days), I feel a lot more comfortable about it than I did a week or two ago. The amount of time that I spent staring at the computer, writing out explanations of certain arguments or searching for the perfect article to help make an argument has really made me think about a skill that debate has taught me that I’ve never really thought about before– stamina and focus. Before I joined debate, I couldn’t keep my focus on something that could be considered work for much time– maybe half an hour to 45 minutes– before I had to stop and do something else. After joining debate, I’ve been able to keep my focus on a task for an extensive period of time, even if it’s a boring paper for a class I really don’t like. I think the reason why I am able to do this effectively is because debate has also helped me formulate my thoughts coherently (that idea will be developed more in a future post). Either way, debate has helped me to focus on work for an extended period of time, making me significantly more efficient and effective at school and other research-oriented work.