Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Communication Studies

Document Type



This dissertation explores the relationship between ethics, pedagogy, and rhetoric through the relationship between NPDA partnerships and how forensic coaches impact these relationships. The main argument which is introduced is that directors of forensics and NPDA debaters are currently in a state of tension, and arguably in a state of crisis. This dissertation aims to heighten the level of intellectual discussion in this subfield as well as add to both the quantity and quality of research. The study begins with an introduction and review of the relevant literature. These chapters are focused on the philosophical and pragmatic underpinnings of theory in forensics as well as the existing studies in this subfield. Next, there is a quantitative study to assess how argumentativeness and verbal aggressiveness influence competitive relational satisfaction within NPDA partnerships. The original human subject study in this dissertation begins with the student/debaters because of the bottom-up nature of the subculture of forensics. Following the quantitative portion, there is a qualitative follow-up with the coaches of these partnerships, and finally, I explore the rhetorical and pedagogical impacts of the findings. It is concluded that especially in forensics, there is no one model pedagogy or ethic, just as there is no one way to garnering competitive success. It is argued that further theoretically and historically grounded study must be conducted in this area in order to bolster the credibility of forensic literature as well as to provide further understanding in this area.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Andrew A. King



Included in

Communication Commons