dice questions

Here are definitions for the types of questions to use and avoid. These are the basics that so many people think they know, yet when you listen and observe, notice that they often confuse the different types.

There are two major groups of questions Closed and Open, with sub-sets that can be either Open or Closed, depending on how you ask

Let us look at the Open types of questions first, and some examples.

Open

An Open question (or Open-ended Question) is a question where the respondent is not limited to a specific answer. This prompts for more detail from the respondent..

I keep six honest serving men (they taught me all i knew); Theirs names are What and Why and When And How And Where and Who." -
Rudyard Kipling

Here are some examples of simple Open questions

Use when trying to 'open' up a respondent to share their thoughts, views, and opinions.

Not useful when trying to close a session.


I use this when I am trying to get someones open and honest opinion. Or if I am trying to build rapport find our their untainted views.

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Closed

A Closed question (or Closed-ended Question) is a question where the respondent has a narrow range of answers, the exact opposite of Open.

This happens for 3 reasons

  1. The questioner deliberately closes the respondent down
  2. The responder chooses their response due to the pool close question from the questioner
  3. It just happens due to being unsure of the impact of questions

With a closed question the respondent is limited in their answer, or chooses vague responses eg 'yes' or 'no', 'Maybe' 'Ok' 'Whatever'. The can also be requested to answer within a specific limited range of answers, this is called LEADING, as we look at this below.

Here are some examples of simple Closed questions

Use when trying to 'close' down a respondent to a specific answer.

Not useful when trying to open up a respondent to give you detail on an issue.

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Different Question Types explained

Here are different questions types you will come across

Another type of question is the probing, which can wither be closed or open, depending on how you view it

The Closed question group has 4 key subsections. All have their individual merits, and pitfalls. This article seeks to demystify the types, giving you an wider understanding of when and how to use each.

Hypothetical

Hypothetical questions prompt the respondent to create how they might deal with a scenario, which may or may not be based on fact. The classic 'What if' question

Here are some examples of Hypothetical questions

Will help you test out someone who has not experienced a situation to indicate what they might do

Responses may not be how they would actuallydeal with a scenario ie they may give a good response to the angry customer question, yet in reality they handle the scenario in a less that positive way.

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Leading

Pushes an individual down a certain path en route. It is close to nature as it limits the responses the individual can give.

Here are some examples of Leading questions

Will help you test out someone who has not experienced a situation to indicate what they might do

Responses may not be how they would actuallydeal with a scenario ie they may give a good response to the angry customer question, yet in reality they handle the scenario in a less that positive way.

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Multiple

There are two types of Multiple question

Type One- Multiple 'Choice' Question here the respondent is narrowed down to a range of choices. Typical of a questionnaire or survey, for example:

Q. What year was evalu8d established?

  1. 2004
  2. 2005
  3. 2006

Type Two- Multiple Questions - here the person asking the questions will ask a number of questions in a row, for example:

Q. Where did you go? How did you get there? Were there many people there? How much did it cost?

Is useful to narrow down to a specific answer

This is a leading question type, which means an individual may answer as they belly you want them too, not their true answer.

In the type two example it may confuse and put pressure on the respondent, and you may not get an answer at all, and if so a rushed pressured one at that!