Skills and competencies
Critical thinking, multidisciplinary research, database search, scientific debate, contextual analysis

Duration and scheduling
15 minutes , ideally first thing in the morning
24-hour preparation for two participants (presenter and opponent)


In a small group (at least three members), students take turns to play a different role at each meeting of the club: chair, presenter and discussant. A facilitator observes the structured discussion and, only at the end, offers brief comments.


  • To mark the punctual start of the day
  • To engage students in scientific debate
  • To put students’ database-search skills to use in identifying relevant literature
  • To alert students to the broader social and scientific context of their research
  • To require students to read rapidly and develop arguments to support the claim they have been assigned

Prepare a list of topic statements, one per day, and a key reference for each topic
Identify and announce two speakers for each Blitz: one student as the lead speaker for the motion, and another as the opponent
Hand out the key reference per Blitz to all participating students one day in advance (no earlier!)

All participating students
Read the key reference
Find and read other materials around the selected topic

The facilitator opens the session and monitors time strictly
The speaker has ten minutes to introduce the topic, describe the controversy and present their argument
The opponent has two minutes to present their views
The speaker has five minutes to respond to the opponent and defend their view
The facilitator opens the floor for an eleven-minute general discussion

After a series of scientific blitz sessions, students should be able to:

  1. Rapidly cover the background to an important research question
  2. Identify materials in databases and condense them into short oral contributions
  3. Feel comfortable with the concept and practice of scientific debate
  4. Reflect on and critique the social and scientific context of specific research
Expected Learning Outcomes Session contents
Critical debate on topical issues Rapid and critical readings Lively discussions and feedback

You can download these guidance notes

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