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Examples of Open-Ended Questions

How to Ask an Open-ended Question? Ohh! Just Like These Examples!

In this article, we will take a look at some examples of open-ended questions and their use in different fields.
Rahul Pandita
Last Updated: May 31, 2018
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To get an answer from a respondent, questioners employ various methods. The manner in which a question is asked determines to an extent the way respondent will answer the question. Questions have been broadly classified as Closed-ended questions and Open-ended questions.
Closed-ended questions
Closed-ended questions are used to get an answer which is either affirmative or negative. These questions generally start with "Do", "Who", etc.

For example:
Have you ever been to England?

The answer to this question will depend on whether the respondent has been to England or not. If the respondent has been to England, the answer will be a yes, in case he hasn't visited England, the answer will be a no.
Open-ended questions
In case of open-ended questions, the respondent is given an opportunity to express himself. He can put forward his opinions, and consequently, the questioner gets a detailed response. Open-ended questions will generally start with "Why", "How", etc.

For example:
Please describe your experience of living in England?

The answer to this question depends on the experience one has living in England and will be a detailed one i.e in the form of few sentences.
Advantages of Open-Ended Questions
Here are few advantages of Open-Ended questions.
  • These give respondents an opportunity to express themselves and expand their strengths in a better way.
  • These allow the respondents to reveal their true self to the researchers and their opinion on various issues. Unlike closed-ended questions, these give the respondent an option to not have an opinion on the issue.
  • In case of closed-ended questions, it has been observed that respondents fill in the answers without even looking at the questions as they think of it as a tedious exercise. Open-ended questions on the other hand ask for a detailed answer and the respondent has to come up with his own ideas and thoughts. This tests the critical thinking skills of the respondent and ensures their active participation.
  • The open-ended questions create a vast pool of data which can be used for other researches and surveys.
  • Open-ended questions help in creating a better relationship between the researcher and the respondent where both of them can share their experience and learn from it.
  • Last but not least, it conveys that you are willing to invest time in others, thus helping in better cooperation.
Examples of Open-ended Questions
For Preschoolers
  • What will you do if a bear comes inside a room?
  • Why do you like strawberries so much?
  • Why would you like to be a doctor when you grow up?
  • When you feel sad, what things cheer you up?
  • Why do you like your Barbie doll so much?
  • What do your friends have to say about you?
  • Why do you feel that reading is not interesting?
  • How would you spend your day, if you were a frog?
  • Why do you avoid taking a bath?
  • Why do you like to play?
In Sales
  • What are your expectations from the company?
  • What are the potential uses of this product for you?
  • What issues did you face with the last company?
  • What apprehensions are stopping you from buying this product?
  • What kinds of gifts does your wife like?
  • How will she react when you surprise her with this gift?
  • Where else have you checked your options?
  • What do you think which colors would she like?
  • What are the most important features that you look out for before buying something?
  • Apart from this issue, are there some other concerns that you have?
  • What are your thoughts on the brand value of our company?
  • Who else is involved in this decision?
  • That is interesting, can you explain a bit more?
  • What feedback have you got from your friends and relatives who recommended this product to you?
  • How can you contribute to our company?
For Interviews
  • Tell me something about yourself.
  • Why did you leave your last job?
  • Any specific reason that you chose to apply in our company?
  • What is your idea of career advancement?
  • How do you deal with stress and pressure?
  • What exercises do you undertake to establish yourself as a dedicated employee of the organization?
  • Tell me why we should select you over a more qualified candidate?
  • What was the best thing that you liked about your previous jobs?
  • How was your rapport with your seniors in the previous job?
  • What do you think your co-workers would have to say about you?
  • What is your conflict-resolution strategy?
  • How do you plan to meet deadlines?
  • How do you respond when you are not given due recognition?
  • Last-minute changes are inevitable in a large organization. How do you adjust to them?
  • There are times when work life becomes monotonous. How do you cope up with that?
For Relationships
  • What was your childhood like?
  • What is the best memory that you have from your growing years?
  • What is the one thing that you like the most in me?
  • If you had the option of changing some of my habits, what would they be?
  • What are your thoughts on marriage?
  • After a certain time, the novelty wears off and couples start to take each other for granted. What are your thoughts on dealing with this situation?
  • What is your idea of a perfect date?
  • What are your thoughts on financial interdependence between couples?
  • What was your first impression of me?
  • What sort of relationship do you expect from my family?
Open-ended questions are used in different fields as you saw above. They serve as an excellent means of evoking response from a respondent, and provide lucid information to the questioner.