The Barkley Forum's nationally ranked intercollegiate policy debate team is an exemplary program for training students to be “inquiry-driven.”
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan noted: "[debate] is uniquely suited to building what's been called the "Four C's" of 21st century skills—critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity." To that list the Barkley Forum adds a fifth "C"—for civic awareness and engagement.
Preparation for debate not only involves intensive research but also advanced critical thinking. Because debate is a contest of ideas—and because students have to switch sides during the debate from arguing against a proposition to defending it—debate forces students to anticipate their opponents' strongest arguments and rebut them with evidence. This forces students to think deeply about both sides of an issue, and it teaches them to be good listeners. You can't refute an argument if you do not understand it.