How to Order Your Contentions

This year, all Stoa and NCFCA LD cases should have two contentions. Insert any value, and the contentions say how one side (truth-seeking/fair trade) upholds the value, and how the other side (privacy/free trade) violates it. Assuming you’ve already run a value and value link, these contentions will finish your case.

Now, how do you order them? There are two persuasive approaches to this decision.


Start with the first resolution subject and the first framework point, and then work forward.

Resolved: Taco Bell is better than McDonald’s. 

Value: Sodium.
Value Link: Tastes Awesome.
Contention 1: Taco Bell Loaded with Sodium.
Contention 2: McDonald’s Sodium is Pathetic.

This system has the advantage of being easy to predict, meaning the judge will find it easier to follow. However, you forfeit the chance to tell a story with your contention order. This is a good basic system, and it is the one you should use if you’re in doubt. Chronological order is great if the subject you support in the resolution comes last –– something common for negative teams.


At its core, most story structure is about showing a problem and solving it. Building your case this way helps it resonate with your judge emotionally. You do this by starting with the saddest contention and ending with the happiest. City life is the problem, country life is the answer. McDonald’s is gross, Taco Bell is delicious. This method is also useful for subpoints as well.

There is no wrong way to order your contentions. As long as you have a system in mind, the judge will be able to follow you.