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Eight European debate organisations, including IDEA NL, have set up a study on the impact of debate on school children aged 14-18 in the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, the Netherlands, Romania and Slovakia. We have looked at the effect that debating might have on logical reasoning and political values.
In order to study this, ADK, ARDOR, DC, EDC, EDS, IDEA NL, SDA and YEF worked with schools and debate clubs in their countries to conduct a number of studies. These included a test at the beginning and the end of the year in which high school students, debaters and non-debaters, are compared on, amongst others, their critical thinking skills and democratic values. Debaters were also asked about their opinion on the quality of training and the effects it has had on them. In addition, the activities in debate clubs were monitored, and debaters were asked to evaluate the activities in their clubs.
This research was designed with the aid of a team of experts in the field of evaluation and education. We asked participants to give certain background details (such as gender, age, school) in order to compare answers at group level. We ensured confidentiality and anonymity throughout the research process, data collection, analysis and presentation of results. The results of the study are now under analysis and will be presented in early 2017.
The findings of the research will be used to improve the quality of debate education in all participating countries.
This project is funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.