Group Discussion vs Debate: Difference and Comparison

Most of us remember thousands of competitions in our school times.

We participated in many activities, such as singing, dancing, acting, group discussions, debates, sports, etc.

Key Takeaways

  1. Group discussion involves sharing ideas and perspectives in a collaborative, non-competitive environment, while debate involves arguing for or against a specific position or idea.
  2. Group discussion focuses more on exploring ideas and finding common ground, while the debate focuses more on persuasion and winning arguments.
  3. Group discussion is more open-ended and allows for multiple perspectives, while debate requires participants to take a specific stance and defend it.

Group Discussion vs Debate

Group discussion is a collaborative process where individuals share their views and ideas on a particular topic, focusing on reaching a common understanding. Debate is a competitive process where two opposing sides present their arguments supporting their position on a particular issue.

Group Discussion vs Debate
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Group discussion is an activity that is done in a group. The whole group is assigned a certain topic.

Then the bunches of people go around the table and discuss this topic. All of them put their viewpoints. Everyone’s viewpoint is heard.

A debate is an activity that happens between two individuals. It can also happen between the two groups. In a debate, the individuals are given a topic.

One speaks for the topic, and the other one speaks against the topic—the two groups ‘debate’ on who is right. In the end, one is declared the winner.

Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonGroup DiscussionDebate
Type of activityGroupIndividual
Topic divisionAll the group members get the same topic.One individual gets to speak for the topic, and the other one is against the topic.
What skills are requiredCritical communication skills, public speaking skills, and ability to interact with other people’s opinionsCritical communication skills, public speaking skills, ability to concisely say why you are right
Where is it doneMany organizations conduct group discussions as a part of their interviewing process. Even the army conducts group discussions to assess certain skills.It is mostly done in competitions, parliamentary debates, or big panel talks like the presidential debate in the USA.
Length (in minutes)10-40 minutes30-100 minutes

What is Group Discussion?

A group discussion is an activity which is done in ‘groups’. The group gets into a ‘discussion’ and discusses the topic.

The term group discussion is self-explanatory. A group plus discussion.

A team of 5-10 individuals gets together in a group discussion. They might be assigned a topic from the observer.

Then they are given a time limit, for example, 40 minutes. In 40 minutes, the whole group has to discuss the topic.

Each member is expected to contribute to the discussion.

Organizations and institutions use group discussions.

The GD (Group Discussion) is an effective way of assessing their interpersonal skills, their ability to listen, and their ability to contribute to the discussion effectively.

GD also helps assess the candidate’s leadership, managerial, problem-solving, and creative skills.

Group discussion is an effective tool for picking the right candidate because it involves a group of people discussing something.

In a group, some people ought to stand out better than others.

That helps the company shortlist candidates quickly.  Group discussion can also be done at a societal level to fight societal stigma.

GD can also help in increasing the awareness of the participating members.

A group discussion isn’t harmful when done in moderation, and there is a panel to control the group members.

Otherwise, the members may start fighting over who’s right and wrong. 

Group Discussion

What is Debate?

A debate is an activity that is done between two individuals. The individuals debate a given topic and fight to prove themselves right.

These individuals can also be the speakers for a whole team. Instead of the whole team speaking, the speakers come forward and debate.

In a debate, the individuals are both given the same topic. One has to speak in favour of the topic, and the other has to speak against it.

There is a time limit of 5-10 minutes for opening speeches. Then there are rebuttals.

Rebuttals mean that after both individuals give their speeches, either can counter what the other candidate said.

The end goal of an individual involved in a debate is to win over the other candidate.

  The moderators might limit the whole session. Some debates are limited to 30 mins, while others can go up to 90-100 minutes. There is no set mark.

Debates are mostly used in competitions and parliaments.

They are also used in big panel talks like the US presidential debate. Both individuals fight to prove themselves right and the other wrong.

Both fight to win. Debates are done to arrive at a common end-point. The British Parliamentary debate is a popular and good way of debating.

Debates are a perfect way of assessing individuals’ speaking, presentation, and non-verbal skills.

Debate

Main Differences Between Group Discussion and Debate

  1. A group discussion is done in groups. On the other hand, a debate is between two individuals, which may represent a whole team.
  2. A group discussion is done to assess certain skills of the individuals. On the other hand, the debate is done to assess how fluently and accurately the speaker can put forward their facts.
  3. A group discussion has a time limit of 10-40 minutes. On the other hand, a debate has a time limit of 30-100 minutes.
  4. A group discussion can be done at an institutional to a societal level. On the other hand, a debate can be done at a competition to a parliamentary level.
  5. In a group discussion, all the members argue on the same topic. On the other hand, in a debate, the two individuals argue on the same topic but for opposite motions. One is for the topic, and the other is against it.
Difference Between Group Discussion and Debate
References
  1. https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/2041-210X.12860
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3200/TCHS.78.2.52-56?journalCode=vtch20

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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