Issues will most often take the format of a yes/no question: “Is X Y?” or “Does X do Y?”
Examples might be: “Is a trade war beneficial to the US?”, “Is Serena Williams the greatest female tennis player of all time?”, “Does God exist?”
If in doubt, always frame your question as an IXY Question.
Identifying Issues Issues are matters which give rise to significant (dis)agreement. The key feature of an Issue is the presence of multiple Proponents holding different and conflicting positions about the Issue.
When formulating the questions expressing the Issue, it is important to choose the most representative words: does a specific word crop up frequently in the positions/arguments made by several Proponents? If, for example, most proponents use the term “legal” (“X is legal” or “X is not legal”) in their arguments, then formulating the Issue as “Is X legal?” may have more relevance than formulating it as “Is X justifiable? or “Is X moral?”
Identifying Positions For all IXY questions, there will be 4 standard position responses.
- Affirmative: Yes, X is Y
- Indeterminate: Whether X is Y or not is unknowable or unknown
- Negative: No, X is not Y
- Questioning the relevance: whether X is an Y or not is irrelevant to the issue Each Position should be worded as a single-clause declarative sentence, e.g.: “Yes, the Trade War is beneficial to the US”; “We cannot know if God exists”; “No, Serena Williams is not the greatest female tennis player of all time”.
Read about common guidelines for IXY and maps →