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{Excerpt} Seeking information is a vital human activity that contributes to learning, problem solving, and decision making. Questioning is a vital tool of human thought and social interaction with which to open doors to data, information, knowledge, and wisdom. Questions serve a range of functions, depending on the context of the interaction. Therefore, the art and science of questioning lies in knowing what question to ask when. A question is only as good as the answer it evokes, and questions thus contribute to success or failure across different contexts.

Derived from the context of social interaction, different classifications of questions have been proposed. The most common refers to the degree of freedom, or scope, given to the respondent. Those that leave the respondent free to select any one of several ways in which to answer are termed open questions; those that require a short response of a specific nature are labeled closed questions. Other types include recall and process questions, effective questions, leading questions, probing questions, rhetorical questions, and multiple questions.


Suggested Citation

Serrat, O. (2010). Asking effective questions. Washington, DC: Asian Development Bank.

Required Publisher's Statement

This article was first published by the Asian Development Bank (