The Best Web Tools for Debate Work

Sarah’s Pro-Tips

Sarah Spring
Aug 20, 2013 · 3 min read

I love the internet and I love the ways it can make debate work more efficient and easier. Thus, I am constantly experimenting with different web tools to make debate work better.


My favorite Web tools—

My Feedly this morning

Feedly is my Google Reader replacement of choice. I really like that it works across numerous platforms and can integrate with most of the other services that I use on a day to day basis. What I like about using an RSS reader is that the best new content comes to me, rather than me having to go out and find it.


Google Scholar is literally the best thing that has happened to academic research in the last decade. The best part of this service is that it means that I don’t have to use each of the myriad other search tools (Lexis, Proquest, Project Muse, and so on) and learn their own search syntax and databases.

Rather, Google Scholar puts it all in one place — like a search engine… And it provides a quick link to the resources available from your own institution, in my case UH. And, the cited by function is invaluable for finding the most important articles and related resources.


Evernote is awesome, in fact so awesome that it probably deserves its own full post (also see tips for preseason research which has a shout out to Evernote) — but I don’t really have the time to fully explain its awesomeness. You should have an account. A shared account is even better. Chrome Extensions make it invaluable.


The web clipper is a Chrome extension — also probably available on other browsers — this is the best way to save articles that are relevant to your work but perhaps not what you need at this moment. It saves you from that moment of crisis before a big debate in a few months— e.g: omg-I-need-that-one-card-that-says-something-about-this-argument-from-that-article-I-read-awhile-ago. This moment actually happens to me a lot. Evernote + the Web Clipper is the only solution.

Evernote Web Clipper

It’s easy to use — find an article you like but aren't sure that you need right now — click a button and boom its in your Evernote — ready to be found at a later moment. You can tag or sort these clips from the web clipper interface and keep your notebooks de-cluttered.


Evernote Clearly is the next-level. I am old and losing my eyesight so this extension (also for Chrome) is a game-changer. It takes all the junk and bad formatting and multiple pages out of web articles and turns it into a nice, readable, highlightable, and saving to Evernoteable text. It’s like magic. Even better than Chris Crowe magic.

Evernote Clearly

The best part is that it makes the text debate-card ready, it removes all the silliness that gets in the way of copying and pasting from your web browser. I love Evernote Clearly.


I’m always in the market for new webapps, extensions and software that will make the process of debate research more intuitive, efficient and pleasant. Anyone have any good suggestions? Just comment and I’ll publish your suggestions!

Policy Debate

debate thoughts and more

Sarah Spring

Written by

Director of Policy Debate — University of Houston

Policy Debate

debate thoughts and more

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