Defining terms and goals is one of the most important issues in any decision making process. This thesis will examine the role of criteria in CEDA debate. It will begin by examining the history of academic debate and the evolution of CEDA. The role of criteria in both NDT debate and CEDA debate will be examined. It will then examine the past and current theory regarding criteria and the move on to an analysis of two different ways of viewing criteria: criteria as a rule and criteria as a definition. Finally, it will advocate a strict prima facie standard for criteria and conclude with an analysis of two recent debate topics.