Types of Questions
How you ask a question may affect how it is answered. If you ask "closed-ended" questions, you may get "yes" or "no" answers, but no further discussion will ensue. Try to ask "open-ended" questions—questions that force respondents to talk, give information, further the discussion or to ask questions themselves. There are a number of different types of open-ended questions. Here are some definitions and samples.
Factual questions are used to establish basic facts and to review concepts. They include who, what, where, when, questions. Example: "What is the standard treatment for hypertension?" Students can generally tell that there are only so many "correct answers" to these kinds of questions.
Broadening questions are generally used to introduce additional facts and to encourage analysis. For example: "What is the relationship between teaching and learning?"
Questions used to challenge old ideas and to develop new ideas are known as justifying questions. For example, ask: "Why do you think so?" (Obviously no right answers to these, as an instructor, you need to look for creativity and that the students are basing their new ideas on valid old ones, not just "sacred cows.")
Hypothetical questions can be used to explore unknown topics and to change the course of a discussion. For example, ask: "What if we did it this way? What would happen?"
Alternative questions can be used to help a group make decisions between alternatives and to gain agreement or consensus on a project or an idea. For example, ask: "Which of book would appeal to a broader audience: 'To Kill a Mockingbird' or 'Gulliver's Travels'?"
It is NOT important that you remember the types of questions, just that there are a number of different ways to ask questions that can keep a discussion going and not shut it down.