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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the NFA?

The NFA is an intercollegiate forensics association devoted to individual events and Lincoln-Douglas debate. We are affiliated with the American Forensics Association, an umbrella group of organizations interested in the promotion of intercollegiate speech and debate.

So do you have anything to do with science or the study of dead bodies?

No, although both do share some origins. As Golden, Berquist and Coleman note, “Legal speaking in the law courts was referred to as forensic discourse” (Rhetoric of Western Thought, 3rd edition, Kendall/Hunt, 1983, p. 39). Aristotle’s Rhetoric (book 1, 3.5) describes three forms of speaking. One is forensics, for which Aristotle notes: “The end of the forensic speaker is the just or the unjust.” In book 1, 3.4, Aristotle defines forensic speaking as “either accusatory or defensive, for litigants must necessarily either accuse or defend.” (Both quotations come from the J.H. Freese translation, Harvard University Press, 1926).
So how do people tend to look at both of forms of forensics as the same? Golden, Berquist and Coleman suggest it is because forensic discourse “deals with happenings in the past as in the case of alleged criminality” (ibid, p. 60).

Why should I join the NFA?

Membership provides three distinct benefits. First, it allows a school to enter the national tournament in April. Also, for schools that participate in NFA-LD, membership provides the only way to vote for the topic areas and resolutions. Finally, it promotes the activities of the organization, which include intercollegiate tournaments, scholarly discussions at the National Communication Association, and more.

What are the time limits for NFA Lincoln-Douglas?

How do I get invitations for tournaments? Where do I find a tournament calendar?

The tournament calendar is available at the Council of Forensic Organizations website.
Also, if you become a member of NFA, you’ll be added automatically to the mailing list; many schools purchase mailing labels and so you’ll be added to their mailing lists automatically. Otherwise, you may wish to subscribe to the IE-L. Often, there will be tournament announcements there. You might also consider becoming a member of the American Forensics Association; they also sponsor a national tournament.

What is IE-L? How do I subscribe?

IE-L is a discussion list for people interested in intercollegiate individual events and Lincoln-Douglas debate. It is not officially sanctioned by NFA or AFA. The list is moderated, and it is owned by Minnesota State University-Mankato and administered by Dan Cronn-Mills. To subscribe, go to:

What are the names of some college programs?

The Council of Forensic Organizations has a list of programs in individual events, as well as debate. Check it out at:

What are the events? How do I do them?

There are event descriptions for: 
Note: The National Forensic Association does not have Program Oral Interpretation at the national tournament. The event description for POI can be found at the AFA website.

How do I qualify for Nationals? When is the last date?

All of the qualifying rules can be found on the National Tournament page
Typically the last qualifying date is the 3rd Saturday of March; however, the qualifying rules page listed above will have the specific date for each year.

Can you find me a good persuasion/interp program… ?

That’s really something that you’re better off finding yourself. There are several different texts that talk about intercollegiate forensics; one is  M’Liss Hindman’s Intercollegiate Forensics; the book gives ideas of where to find material and how to do each event. Kendall/Hunt is the publisher, and the ISBN is 0-8403-8873-X.

How do I start a forensics program?

This is a wonderful question — we believe that every student should have the ability to participate in forensics. If you’re a student, you should try to talk to your Student Government and faculty members in departments such as Communication, Speech, English, and so on. If you’re a faculty member, you should not only secure funding from within your own institution, but also go to state, regional and national conferences — you’ll find colleagues ready and willing to help. In either case, let Larry Schnoor, our President, know; often, he’ll have additional names and contacts.

Where can I see examples of speeches?

Due to copyright restrictions, interpretation events are generally not available.   Public address, Limited Preparation and Lincoln-Douglas Debate DVDs are available here.

How can I get access to communication research in forensics?

Dr. Dan Cronn-Mills, the Director of Forensics at Minnesota State-Mankato has created an Online Index to Forensics Research. The web address is:

How do I find out information about the NIET tournament?

The NIET is sponsored by the American Forensics Association. The website for the NIET is:

Are there other discussion lists for forensics?

Currently, there are the following lists. Note that these are not officially sanctioned by the NFA:

District 3: AR, KS, LA, MO, OK, TX (Sean Stewart, University of Texas – Listowner)
1.) Send a mail message to the following address –
2.) In the body of the message, put the following:
subscribe district 3 your name
(For example: subscribe district 3 Joe Forensicator)
3.) You should receive a confirmation letter stating that you are subscribed to the list.
4.) You will use the following address to send messages to the list–
District 4: IA, MN, NE, ND, SD, WI (Michael Dreher, Bethel University – listowner)