Coupon Accepted Successfully!


Types of Question

Closed Questions
Closed questions are usually easy to answer - as the choice of answer is limited - they can be effectively used early in conversations to encourage participation and can be very useful in fact-finding scenarios such as research. 

Closed questions are used to force a brief, often one-word answer.

  • Closed questions can simply require a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer, for example:  ‘Do you smoke?’, ‘Did you feed the cat?’, ‘Would you like a cup of tea?’
  • Closed questions can require that a choice is made from a list of possible options, for example: ‘Would you like beef, chicken or the vegetarian option?’, ‘Did you travel by train or car today?’
  • Closed questions can be asked to identify a certain piece of information, again with a limited set of answers, for example: ‘What is your name?’, ‘What time does the supermarket open?’, ‘Where did you go to University?’

Open Questions

By contrast, to closed questions, open questions allow for much longer responses and therefore potentially more creativity and information.   There are lots of different types of open question; some are more closed than others!

Leading or ‘Loaded’ Questions
A leading question, usually subtly, points the respondent’s answer in a certain direction. 

Asking an employee, ‘How are you getting on with the new finance system?’ This question prompts the person to question how they are managing with a new system at work. In a very subtle way it raises the prospect that maybe they are not finding the new system so good.  

 ‘Tell me how you’re getting on with the new finance system’ is a less leading question – the question does not require any judgement to be made and therefore does not imply that there may be something wrong with the new system.

Recall and Process Questions

 Questions can also be categorised by whether they are ‘recall’ – requiring something to be remembered or recalled, or ‘process’ – requiring some deeper thought and/or analysis.

A simple recall question could be, ‘What is your mother’s maiden name?’. This requires the respondent to recall some information from memory, a fact.  A school teacher may ask recall questions of their pupils, ‘What is the highest mountain?’  Process questions require more thought and analysis and/or a sharing of opinion.   Examples include, ‘What skills can you bring to this organisation that the other applicants cannot?’ or ‘What are the advantages and disadvantages of asking leading questions to children?

Rhetorical Questions

Rhetorical questions are often humorous and don’t require an answer. 
If you set out to fail and then succeed have you failed or succeeded?’  Rhetorical questions are often used by speakers in presentations to get the audience to think – rhetorical questions are, by design, used to promote thought. 


We can use clever questioning to essentially funnel the respondent’s answers – that is ask a series of questions that become more (or less) restrictive at each step, starting with open questions and ending with closed questions or vice-versa.  


Example :
"Tell me about your most recent holiday."
"What did you see while you were there?"
"Were there any good restaurants?"
"Did you try some local delicacies?"
"Did you try Clam Chowder?"


The questions in this example become more restrictive, starting with open questions which allow for very broad answers, at each step the questions become more focused and the answers become more restrictive.

Test Your Skills Now!
Take a Quiz now
Reviewer Name