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Forensic Quarterly – New Name, Same Great Information

By Kyle Mills on July 01, 2020 nfhs news Print

The NFHS Forensic Quarterly is getting a title change after 93 years.

The NFHS Speech, Debate, Theatre and Academics Advisory Committee met in mid-September before the 2019 Performing Arts Conference in Chicago, Illinois. A significant update from this year's meeting was the title change of the "Forensic Quarterly" to the "Policy Debate Quarterly" after 93 years.

The Forensic Quarterly is an annual publication in four issues that provides a credible and valuable resource for policy debaters and coaches across the country. The Policy Debate Quarterly will remain a valuable resource, just with a new name. It can be used by debaters with any level of experience to gain a basis on individual research and launch deeper into the critical analysis required each year for the national policy debate topic.

"This name change will help the publication (Policy Debate Quarterly) be more visible moving into its next 100 years. The Policy Debate Quarterly is an integral part of high school policy debate and the national debate topic," said NFHS Director of Performing Arts and Sports Dr. James Weaver.

Dr. Rich Edwards, a Communications Professor at Baylor University and the author and editor of the newly renamed Policy Debate Quarterly, has been involved with publication since 1975.

“I love everything we do in forensics, but the Forensic Quarterly has always focused more narrowly on the needs of policy debaters. This name change will help us connect with our target audience,” author of the Forensic (now Policy Debate) Quarterly for over 40 years Dr. Edwards, optimistically added about the name change.

The Policy Debate Quarterly focuses on the affirmative cases, topic terms, counterplans, negative responses, an annotated bibliography and much more regarding the national debate topic. The first issue of the Policy Debate Quarterly is designed to introduce high school debaters and coaches to the topic for the upcoming debate season. The second issue provides a starting place for research with a complete annotated bibliography which includes information and links to newspapers, scholarly journals, online articles, government documents and books. The third book released is usually written by two other authors, Jeff Jarman and Matthew Munday, and is oriented toward the affirmative case while the fourth and final book in the series helps give an overview of the negative approaches to the national high school debate topic.

“As a coach, the Forensic Quarterly was always the first publication I read on the newly-released policy debate topic, and it was mandatory reading for every debater on my squad," said Jana Riggins, Chairperson of the Speech Advisory Committee and State Director of Speech and Debate with the Texas – University Interscholastic League. "The four publications provided the strong foundation of understanding upon which all the research we did on the national topic would be based. Now, as a state association director overseeing debate in Texas, I encourage all of our coaches and debaters to make the series a priority read.”

The 2019-2020 National Policy Debate Topic is Arms Sales. Thus, all issues of the 2019 Forensic (now Policy Debate) Quarterly are devoted to the topic of "Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially reduce Direct Commercial Sales and/or Foreign Military Sales of arms from the United States."

Volumes 1 through 4 of the NFHS 2019 Forensic Quarterly are now available for purchase in both print and digital formats. There are also a wide variety of resources focused on Arms Sales that are posted on NFHS.org for free. These resources can be found here.


To listen to Dr. Rich Edwards talk about Policy Debate, the history of his involvement and the process he goes about every year in preparing the Policy Debate (Forensic) Quarterly, check out "The Stage – The Official Performing Arts Podcast of the NFHS."

Google Podcasts               Spotify

Apple Podcasts                 Buzzsprout

NFHS Website