Debates provide a forum for individuals to logically examine opposing sides of an argument. During a debate, one person takes the affirmative (agreement with the issue) side, and another person takes the negative (disagreement with the issue). The introduction paragraph to a debate is crucial. It's your first opportunity to grab the audience's attention and help them see the issue from your point of view. Formulate your intro so that even if the audience doesn't hear another word, they'll know where you stand.

Step 1

Research your topic thoroughly, using everything at your disposal, including the Internet, library books and periodicals, media footage and personal interviews. Take notes on your findings. Ponder your topic in present-day terms and find a way to connect to the subject in a way that means something to you.

Step 2

Investigate both sides of the argument. Search for holes in both theories, so you'll be prepared to take either the affirmative or the negative. You'll want to use logical (not emotional) arguments to support your case.

Step 3

Begin the introduction with what you consider to be the most solid fact that proves your case. For example, if you're arguing that condoms should be issued in middle school health classes, and your research revealed that 30 percent of teen pregnancies occur while the mother is in middle school, start there. Grab the audience's attention by stating the most compelling part of your research right away.

Step 4

Use additional facts from your research to explain to the audience what will happen if your argument is not heeded. For example, if you're arguing for stricter parole requirements for child molesters, statistics that discuss the number of child molesters released on early parole and go on to be repeat offenders would be compelling.

Step 5

Read your introduction paragraph, but pretend you're on the other side of the argument. Strengthen any weaknesses in your reasoning.

Step 6

Show your introduction paragraph to someone who's opinion you trust, like your debate coach, peer, teacher, mentor or parent. Consider her suggestions and revise your introduction accordingly.

Step 7

Speak clearly when delivering your introduction to the audience. Make eye contact — make it seem as if you're speaking from your convictions, rather than simply reading something you wrote.