Open questions are questions that can’t be answered with a simple “Yes/No” response, and are designed to elicit deeper information. Here are some examples of open-ended questions to help you get the ball rolling in your forums. Keep these handy once you start facilitating your first few forums.
Exploratory Questions (To probe basic knowledge)
- Why do you think … happens?
- Has anyone else had this experience? Has anyone had a different experience?
- What do you think about …?
- How does … make you feel?
- What bothers/concerns/confuses you the most about …?
- What are some ways we might respond to …?
Cause and Effect Questions (To ask for causal relationships between ideas or events)
- How do you think … relates to/causes …?
- What are some consequences of…?
- Where does … lead?
- What are some pros and cons of …?
- What is likely to be the effect of …?
Challenge Questions (To examine assumptions, conclusions, and interpretations)
- What can we infer/conclude from …?
- What principle do you see operating here?
- What does this help you explain?
- How does this relate to other experiences or things you already knew?
Relational Questions (To ask for comparisons of themes, ideas, or issues)
- What pattern can you see here?
- How might you account for …?
- What was significant about …?
- What connections do you see?
General Questions (To generate new, general responses that don’t need to be specific)
- What is your understanding of …?
- What is the first thing you think about in relation to…?
- What are some questions you have about …?
- Can you describe an incident/event/moment from your experience, that relates to …?