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Documentation Guidelines for Public Speaking and Interpretation

Overall, all events except limited prep must be documented in case of a challenge.   This means that each prepared speech should be written out in full text with documentation, including parenthetical citations and publication information/works cited page(s).  Interpretation events require both full text photocopy and a copy of the cutting used.  Each student needs to submit a neat packet with documentation of each event entered.   Label packet clearly with student's name, school name, and events documented.   Use a brown mailing packet, letter size, which can be both sealed and reopened.

Public Address--MLA style documentation is best, but APA is acceptable.  Include for each speech: title page, text with clear references in the text citing sources, and Works Cited page(s).  MLA style parenthetical in-text citation is excellent, although of course cannot be used in the oral delivery of the speech.  Be absolutely sure to use quotation marks for direct or verbatim quotations, citing sources verbally in the text, and be sure to cite sources for paraphrases as well.  Basically, a speech needs to be documented just like a research paper.  Make sure you know the difference between a verbatim quotation and a paraphrase; also make sure to type verbatim quotations correctly without changing them in any way, except when using ellipses to indicate omission.  If you have any questions, ask the coaches for help.

Interpretation Events--two complete photocopies are needed: one photocopy of your cutting, and one of the entire text from which the cutting was taken.  Title page and publication information page are required.  Sometimes if the source is long, just putting the entire book, clearly marked, in the packet is best.  The objective is to be able to prove that you have not altered the original in any way to change wording or meaning, except when you omit words or passages.  Even chronology should not be altered from the original.

Please see the AFA web page and the AFA-NIET District IX Qualifying tournament invitation and the AFA-NIET Nationals invitation for more information.  The entire AFA-NIET Nationals invitation can be downloaded from this site:

Pertinent passages follow:

5. General Rules Interpretation:

a. A student may be entered in two dramatic duos if both have qualified. The student, however, may not enter another event in that conflict block--two duos count as two events.

b. All rounds of Impromptu and Extemporaneous Speaking will be timed by the judge or the judge panel and time signals will be given to contestants unless otherwise specifically requested by the contestant.

c. A contestant may not use the same cutting/content or any portion of that cutting/content in more than one event at any given tournament.

d. In Extemporaneous Speaking, the use of electronic information retrieval systems, during any part of preparation time, is strictly prohibited. Attendance in the Extemporaneous Speaking preparation room is restricted to monitors appointed by the Tournament Director and the contestants in the event. Because Extemporaneous Speaking is an individual event, contestants are expected to prepare speeches on their own without consultation with others.

e. Coaches and/or students must have available at the District and National NIET tournaments original scripts for all interpretive events and texts of speeches for all original events including a bibliography of all sources cited.

f. All final rounds of interpretation events will be audio taped at the NIET solely for the purpose of possible Ethical Use of Literature violations. All final rounds of public address events are videotaped.

g. Any research conducted at the NIET must be approved. Contact the NIET Chair for further information.



(1)  Contestants may not rewrite a prose, a poem, or a dramatic text so that the work
 differs from the original text.
 (2)  Contestants may not add or reassign scenes or lines to the performed cutting.   Although an occasional line might be added, especially if a character has been deleted. This practice should be discouraged.
(3)  Contestants may not rewrite the ending of a work.
(4)   Contestants may not rewrite lines to change the gender or person of a character.

(5)   Contestants may not perform a text in a genre for which it has not been written.
(6)     Protests should be filed according to AFA-NIET Charter Bylaws Section X .  



Excerpt from AFA CODE OF ETHICS:

  1. Forensics competitors shall not use fabricated or distorted evidence.
    1. Evidence is defined as factual material (statistics and examples) and/or opinion testimony offered as proof of a debater's or a speaker's contention, claim, position, argument, point or case.
    2. Fabrication of evidence refers to falsely representing a cited fact or statement of opinion as evidence when the material in question is not authentic. Fabricated evidence is so defined without reference to whether or not the debater or speaker using it was the person responsible for fabricating it.
    3. Distorted evidence refers to misrepresenting the actual or implied content of factual or opinion evidence. Distorted evidence is so defined without reference to whether or not the debater or speaker using it was the person responsible for distorting it. Distortions shall be judged by comparing the challenged evidence against the material as it appears in the original source. Distortions include, but are not limited to:
      1. quoting out of context
      2. misinterpreting the evidence so as to alter its meaning.
      3. omitting salient information from quotations or paraphrases. MLA Standards will be considered advisory with respect to this standard.
      4. adding words to a quotation which were not present in the original source of the evidence without identifying such an addition.
      5. failure to provide complete documentation of the evidence (name of author(s), source of publication, full date, page numbers and author(s) credentials where available in the original) when challenged. Debaters and speakers are expected to be in possession of the forms of documentation listed here at the time they used any evidence which was challenged.
      6. Failure to provide complete documentation of electronically retrieved evidence, including:
        1. Name of author(s), source of information, full date, and author(s) credentials where available;
        2. The nature and type of the electronic site identified in the evidence citation [e.g., "listserve," "Lexis/Nexis," "Homepage," "CD-ROM"];
        3. A full current Universal Resource Locator (URL) when applicable [e.g.,]; (iv) The date the information was retrieved 2/21/2017; (v) Unique and original page numbers where available, or an indication if not available [e.g., "n.pag.," "p. Lexis"].
  2. In individual events which involve original student speech compositions (oratory/persuasion, informative/expository, after-dinner/epideictic, rhetorical criticism, impromptu, extemporaneous or other similar speaking contests), the speaker shall not commit plagiarism.
    1. Plagiarism is defined as claiming another's written or spoken word as one's own, or claiming as one's own a significant portion of the creative work of another.
    2. A speech in individual events competition is considered plagiarized when the student presenting it was not the principal person responsible for researching, drafting, organizing, composing, refining and generally constructing the speech in question.
  3. Forensics competitors are expected to do their own research.
    1. Persons other than the forensic competitor (undergraduate students, graduate students or instructor/coaches) are not to get charged with the responsibility for doing a forensics competitor's research.
    2. This provision shall not be construed to prevent coaches or assistants from engaging in limited research designed to:
      1. teach research techniques
      2. provide limited examples of high quality research
      3. identify areas of research which students should pursue, and
      4. provide the coach with the working knowledge necessary to function as effective critic with respect to the debate or speech topics being investigated by his/her students.
  4. All forensics participants are expected to compete honestly and fairly. Students are not to intentionally lose debates or perform badly in individual events rounds for the purpose of allowing other competitors to benefit as a result. Directors of forensics, judges and coaches are not to encourage dishonesty in competition by asking students to purposely lose or do poorly in rounds of forensics competition.


 Sources: AFA web page, AFA-NIET districts and national invitations; cut and paste from web pages


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