Did you ever wonder why we ask questions? We ask questions if we want to find out something that is not known and even with the things that we already have knowledge of. Even little kids ask questions out of curiosity over the many amazing things they see and experience around them.
Questions provide answers to our curious minds, things that need reasoning, things we do not understand, and discovery of something new. Questions make us reflect on the way we deal with life and promote a better understanding of why things happen the way they should be.
In the many aspects of life and in the various fields, we ask different types of questions. But as to what kind of questions we ask, probably not a lot of us are aware that the way we formulate our questions and the way we ask them fall into many different categories. Let us find out the types of questions according to different approaches and models.
General Types of Questions
Probably, all sorts of questions can be broadly classified into open ended and closed ended questions as these are the basic ways of formulating questions. Open ended questions invite a speaker to tell more about what is being asked or talked about while closed ended questions are asked to gather specific information and for verification. Some closed ended questions are also called specific questions which are used to collect or confirm basic facts.
For a deeper exploration of an issue or a subject matter, we ask probing questions that can either be open or closed type and relevant only to the topic. In order to gain creative answers from situational issues, hypothetical questions are used.
Reflective questions are intended to contemplate on what the speaker has said or felt and also to check for understanding. Leading questions, from the term itself, are used to lead us to agree or disagree with the speaker without thinking of personal opinions. This is best used for persuasion and making quick decisions.
Socratic Type of Questioning
The famous Socrates is well known for contributing knowledge in the aspect of questioning. To date, educators have been benefiting from Socratic manner of asking questions. There are five basic types of Socratic questions and these are factual, convergent, divergent, evaluative, and combination.
Factual questions require answers based on factual knowledge. Answers for this type are straightforward which are either right or wrong. Convergent questions utilize a person’s comprehension, analysis, and the ability to put answers into application.
Divergent questions allow us to exercise creativity in our answers and think out of the box. As answers to this type may be subjective, correctness is subjective as well depending on logic and rational reasoning. Evaluative type involves a higher level of cognitive function such as decision making or drawing out judgment. Lastly, combination questions are a mixture of the other four types.
Apart from the many kinds of questions mentioned above, there are other types of questions that we can add to our questioning toolkit.
Essential questions are asked to probe the real meaning of the issues that confront us. These questions make us realize our purpose in life and define the realities of living. At times, we tend to ask questions that are not totally significant or applicable to what is being talked about. These are called irrelevant questions. For inquiries that seem to go beyond human understanding and exploration, they are referred to as unanswerable questions.
Inventive questions are asked out of the need to find out more about an incomplete satisfaction to knowledge or learning something new. Sometimes, we become challenged or provoked with some questions being asked. We refer to them as provocative questions and this type is closely similar to irreverent questions which can be offensive or rude and aggressive at some point.
In addition to the list, strategic questioning is useful for creating methods and enhancing listening skills. We use strategic questions with an assumption that people have knowledge of many things and we ask in order to bring out active participation from individuals. However, it is not meant to convince someone but to make the person realize the need to act from the way the questions are asked.