13 Types of Questions (Including Examples and Benefits)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published 7 September 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
When you require specific facts, information or input, the way you word your request typically affects the type and quality of the response you receive. There can be a range of workplace scenarios that require different approaches to asking questions. Understanding the different ways to ask questions and knowing which types are best for various scenarios can help you communicate effectively at work. In this article, we list 13 types of questions with examples and discuss the benefits of using the right type.
13 types of questions
Below, you can find several types of questions, along with examples of each type:
1. Closed-ended questions
Closed-ended questions provide the respondent with limited response options. These kinds of questions typically require the respondent to choose from two options, for example, yes or no or true or false. They may also require the respondent to use a rating scale, for example, strongly disagree to strongly agree. Closed-ended questions can be effective for obtaining specific information.
Below, you can find some examples of closed-ended questions:
Did you see Janice's email about Friday's meeting?
Do you have all the information you require for completing this task?
Do you agree with the new process for filing new client information?
2. Open-ended questions
Open-ended questions are the opposite of closed-ended questions. These questions usually require a more elaborate answer and provide the respondent with an opportunity to express their ideas or thoughts without limitations. Open-ended questions can be useful to gather general information, develop conversations and encourage discussion.
Here are some examples of open-ended questions:
What's the best way to use this software?
What do you think about the concept of the holiday campaign?
How was your first day?
3. Funnel questions
These question types are a sequence of questions asked of the respondent in succession. The sequence of questions might start broad and open-ended and then segue to more direct, closed-ended questions. It may also begin with straightforward, closed questions and end with questions that require a more direct response from the respondent.
Below, you can find a sequence of questions, known as funnel questions:
Did you find that meeting helpful?
Which part helped you the most?
What other bits of information might you like to have received?
4. Rhetorical questions
These questions can help to illustrate a point, engage an audience or make a statement. Rhetorical questions rarely require an answer and, because of this, aren't usually appropriate for obtaining information. These questions can be effective for presentations, speeches or sales pitches to communicate an idea or persuade people.
Here, you can see some rhetorical question examples:
How good might it feel to see all your upcoming deadlines with the click of a button?
If not now, then when?
Who doesn't want to have a profitable business?
5. Leading questions
Leading questions usually encourage the respondent to respond in a certain way. It's common for these kinds of questions to be in use when seeking agreement from a respondent. Because of this, it can be best to use these suggestive question types sparsely and in an appropriate context.
Some examples of leading questions can be:
Don't you think that team meeting went well?
You didn't see my email, did you?
This marketing campaign is excellent, don't you think?
6. Divergent questions
Divergent questions don't require a specific answer. These questions are mostly to encourage critical thought on a topic or expand on conversation. Divergent questions are similar to open-ended questions in that they invite an answer without limitations. They're different in that they're commonly opinion-based and relate to the future.
The following questions are examples of divergent questions:
How might you recommend improving our current client onboarding process?
What do you think can happen if we increase the marketing budget by 15%?
How do you think the finance department might change if Adam became a team leader?
7. Convergent questions
Convergent questions are the opposite of divergent questions. Where divergent questions provide a prompt and gather a range of answers or solutions, convergent questions provide information and require a single answer or solution in exchange. Convergent questions require the respondent to merge their knowledge or thoughts in several areas to produce a conclusive answer, as opposed to broadening their thinking on a single topic. These questions can be beneficial when problem-solving.
Below, you can find examples of convergent questions:
Why do you think this happened?
What do you recognise as the common theme of this campaign?
What's one word you might use to describe your work ethic?
8. Probing questions
Probing questions are a variety of open-ended questions that usually generate subjective responses that can help decipher meaning or encourage more in-depth reasoning. Someone may ask probing questions to, for example, explore a colleague's thought process or learn about the requirements of a new client. These kinds of questions often provide as much depth as their answers.
Here are some probing question examples:
What's the best-case scenario?
How can I help?
What do you see on your screen?
9. Clarifying questions
Clarifying questions can help prevent any misunderstanding, confusion or ambiguity. Asking this type of question can also make a respondent feel heard. These questions rarely require the respondent to provide new information. Rather, they require the respondent to reiterate previously provided information for clarification. Clarifying questions are commonly present in interview-type scenarios to ensure the correct interpretation of information received by the interviewer.
Here are a few examples of clarifying questions:
What do you mean by 'best possible time'?
So, I can find out from Alex and get back to you?
Can you confirm Monday is your preference?
10. Evaluation questions
These kinds of questions require in-depth answers and the respondent to use their knowledge to make value judgments or anticipate future events or outcomes. Evaluation questions typically involve triangulation, which requires the respondent to offer multiple opinions about the same topic. This collection of opinions can provide more comprehensive information than a single opinion. These questions can be a reliable method of data collection and effective for analysis and the evaluation of various workplace scenarios.
Here are some examples of evaluation questions:
Using what you know about international trade agreements, which company that we've studied brokered the best deal and why?
After reviewing the company guidelines, which video showed the most appropriate way to manage the situation?
Based on your understanding of this marketing plan, what do you think are the key objectives and do you agree with them?
11. Problem-solving questions
Problem-solving questions present the respondent with a scenario or problem and require them to propose a solution. These kinds of questions are typically open-ended, giving the respondent the freedom to express their ideas. While these questions are common in job interviews, they can also be useful in other workplace settings. For example, problem-solving questions can be an effective tool for gauging employees' level of understanding of company policies and procedures after a training session.
Below, you can find a few examples of these questions:
What techniques do you think you might use to resolve a conflict between yourself and a colleague?
How might you respond to an angry customer on the phone?
What process might you follow after receiving negative feedback from a client?
12. Recall and process questions
While these are two different question types, they both relate to gauging a respondent's knowledge. It's common to ask these questions in succession. The recall question asks the respondent to recall a specific fact or subject. The process question then asks them to elaborate on the specific fact or subject. These questions can encourage people to apply critical thinking and are useful for in-depth analysis scenarios, for example, interviews and assessments.
Recall and process questions can look like this:
What's the company's mission statement? Why is the company's mission statement effective?
What's the name of the program that organises client data? What are the key features of the program?
What actions did you take to solve the problem? How did you feel about the outcome?
13. Affective questions
The aim of an affective question is usually to learn how others feel. The way a respondent answers this type of question can clarify information and affirm their views on a matter. There can be many uses for these kinds of questions. For example, someone might ask an affective question in the workplace to connect with a colleague on a deeper level, to identify with a scenario or to access their own performance or contribution to their team.
Below, you can find some affective question examples:
Are you happy with the way I completed this task?
How do you feel about the overtime policy?
Is this something that's important to you?
The benefits of applying the right questioning method
Applying an appropriate questioning technique to various scenarios in the workplace can help you obtain the information or outcome you require. There can be many benefits of this, including the opportunity to:
Learn from your colleagues
Understand things clearly
Build better workplace relationships
Develop your soft skills
Manage and mentor people effectively
Manage workplace conflicts
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