Once you have decided to use your evidence, you want to organize it for in round use. Cutting down an article, research paper, or other source into a usable piece of evidence is sometimes called “cutting cards”, “cards” being the resulting piece of evidence that come from the larger evidence. Follow two steps to create a useful and complete card. You will often see evidence presented this way in evidence briefs.
- Have citations prepared for your evidence. Public Forum rules require a full APA/MLA citation be available for evidence you cite in round. It is also a good idea to have a short citation of the Title, Author, Year, and Source at the top of the evidence, or “card”. I like websites like Son of Citation Machine that help you construct APA/MLA citations.
- Copy and paste the actual evidence that you are citing. Copy a minimum of a paragraph before and after what you are reading or paraphrasing. This will provide the context for your evidence. You can only know the intent of the citation if you have it in context. Selecting a small portion of a larger article is called “cutting a card” or “cutting” your evidence. You do not want to allow your opponent to question the citation because you only copied over the sentence you wanted to read. You will find example formatting for a card below: