How to Build a Case

This article reviews the basic components of an HSPDP case.

Building a case in HSPDP has a fairly easy-to-follow format. Of course, specifics will vary based on the topic, but typical rounds have definitions, a plan, a burden and 2-4 arguments. We will analyze each of those parts in detail, using an example topic of “The United States should have a UBI”.


Definitions are quite simple. All you have to do is fairly define some of the words in the topic that are either ambiguous or obscure. For example, for this topic, it would be good to define UBI as “a government program in which every adult citizen receives a set amount of money on a regular basis.”


Next, you need to decide whether or not you want to bring up a plan. A plan is basically how side Prop would enact a policy proposal. They are not necessary for topics that don’t have a policy implication, such as “To be free is better than to be safe.” This topic does imply a policy motion, so you want to make sure you have the basics of a plan. How complicated you want to go depends on your team strategy. Still, every plan should have a basic description of what you’re doing, the funding mechanism and your timeframe. A very basic plan for this topic might be “The USA should enact a UBI of $10,000 dollars a year for all adults and $6,00 dollars a year for all children. It would be funded by an increased tax on the wealthy and will be enacted by 2025.”

Additionally, side Opp has the option of running a counter-plan. This is not required but can be a way of solving the problems of the status quo without enacting Prop’s plan. A counterplan is simply an alternative to the plan presented by Prop and follows the same basic guidelines for creation.


We have a more in-depth article on burdens, but in essence, it is what each side should have to prove to win. In this topic Prop might set a burden that whichever side reduces poverty should win. This should be something that is fair, but you know you can prove down the bench.


These are reasons why you should enact your plan/ agree with your side of the motion. We’d recommend introducing three arguments. Some example arguments for this topic on Prop might be “Decreases poverty,” “Support equality” and “Reduces income inequality.”

For more information on the content discussed, including an article specifically about how to create an argument in HSPDP, please visit our HSPDP Resource Page.