TYPES of Questions (Part 1a)

Types of Qs








there were of asking questions

PREVIOUS: ACoAs & Questions (Part 3)

CHART based on material from http://www.edutopia.org

QUOTES: 36 Quotes from Successful People re. the Wisdom of Asking Qs

There are many types of questions (Qs), each giving us a wider framework & clarity to the process of finding out things.
Asking Qs is essentially about being curious. It’s the only way of accessing knowledge from other people, so asking the right ones, in the right way, is crucial. When approached correctly, Qs can motivate & inspire people, generate new ideas & change the perception of a problem or situation.

TYPES of Questions (Qs) – mainly from the Q Tool Kit
ACoAs rightly say we don’t know what to ask, what word to us….. No matter what the circumstance – where it’s trying to find out something from a loved one, dealing with a work issue, questions a religious doctrine or trying to unravel what our politicians are saying – it’s helpful to know what we are trying to accomplish when asking a Q. It’s also important to know which kinds of Q may potentially get us the answers we’re looking for – and which kinds won’t!

While the following list is primarily focused on research in academic settings, it offers a variety of approaches when we’re trying to find answers or solve a dilemma in our daily lives. Many of these Q types are included in the skill of a good psychotherapist.

ESSENTIALpersonal needs
Qs that are at the center of info gathering. They’re at the heart of the search for truth, probing the deepest issues confronting us, those complex & baffling matters which elude simple answers (Birth, Death, Love, Relationships…..). All other Qs, when used appropriately, enhance & illuminate the learning process. (“What does it mean to be a good friend? // MORE….)

Qs which combine to help build answers to the Essential Qs – which naturally spawn families of smaller ones – leading to insight. The more skillful one is at formulating & then categorizing these Qs, the more success one will have in constructing new knowledge. All of the categories below are Subsidiary types

Qs designed to make sense of confusing or complex info. They can define words & concepts, examine the logic & continuity of a topic, & determine is an underlying assumption is valid. (“What did you mean when you said you were tired of trying?” // More….)

Qs that only require YES or NO answers, which can be a conversation stopper – but not necessarily. (“Are you cold?”). They can be having to choose from a list of possible options, to identify a piece of info, to help with a new dialogue, to encourage participation, or when fact-finding. Since answers can be True or False, context is important. “Why” Qs are good for soliciting info, but can make people defensive, so they have to be worded carefully (“Do you want to eat right now?”, as opposed to “Why are you always hungry?”)

Qs ask for standard information, such as on multiple-choice tests for intelligence. They usually start with ‘what, where and when’ & lead to expected results. Answers looked for don’t require a great deal of creativity, but they emphasizing speed, accuracy & logic, focusing on recognizing the familiar, reapplying techniques & accumulating stored information (“What is the second largest country in the world: A– / B–/ C– or D–? diverge vs converge// What’s in that container?”)

Also called ‘lateral thinking’ are Qs that are used in the process of creating multiple, unique ideas or solutions related to a problem one is are trying to solve. They use existing knowledge as a base from which to explore territory ‘next to’ to something already known or understood, & perhaps help to avoid other people’s mistakes (“What other options do we have for saving money this month?” // How might life in the year 2100 differ from today?”)

Qs that extend & stretch the meaning of info being gathered. They take the straightforward (obvious) & see where it might lead, searching below the surface to find implications in the original info (explicit –> implicit). (Reading between the lines, what does this text really mean?”)

Qs that determine the importance, effectiveness, or worth of something or someone. Answers usually require sophisticated levels of thinking & feeling, asking the responder to make evaluations & judgements based on analyzing info at multiple levels & from different perspectives. (“What kind of a teacher was Mr Smith?”)

FACTUALfactual Qs
Qs that ask for reasonably simple, straight forward responses based on obvious facts or awareness. Usually aimed at the most basic level of thinking or feeling (“Did you go to a City College or Ivy League School”?)

NEXT: Types of Qs – Part 2

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