Dr. Lain and Dr. Anderson-Lain Publish Article on Debate and Civic Engagement | Communication Studies
November 4, 2019

Dr. Lain and Dr. Anderson-Lain Publish Article on Debate and Civic Engagement

Dr. Brian Lain and Dr. Karen Anderson-Lain's upcoming article " Networking debate and civic engagement: Measuring the impact of high school debate camp" will appear in Carol Winkler's (editor) Networking Argument: Selected Works form the 20th NCA/AFA Alta Conference on Argument. Lain and Anderson-Lain explore the connection between debate and civic engagement though an examination of the influence of summer debate camp on 239 middle school and high school students. This research was born out of the success of the UNT Debate summer Program the Mean Green Workshops. Students completed a youth civic engagement measure prior to beginning summer debate camps and following the camp. The results indicate that students' perception of their own civic engagement increased significantly between the pre-test and post-test. Specifically, students reported an increase in their civic duty and civic skills. They reported more confidence and willingness to engage in research and offer their own opinion on civic issues. This study is one of the few quantitative approaches to test the claim that debate enhances civic engagement and contributes to understanding how civic identity development and engagement can be enhanced with extracurricular education activities. It is also the first study of its kind to attempt to quantify the impact of debate activities on youth development of their sense of civic engagement.