Difference Between Open and Closed Questions

Open vs Closed Questions

If someone asks your name, you can have only one answer to the question. But, if you are asked to tell about your family background, you will have to answer it in detail using all information that you have. If someone asks about weather, it is a simple question, and you can answer it in a single word or in a single sentence. But, if the person asking about weather is new to the area, and asks the causes behind weather, you might have to come up with a lengthy answer based upon your geographical knowledge. Do you see the differences between these two different types of questions? One is called open question, while the other is referred to as closed question. Let us take a closer look and seek other differences between open and closed questions.

It is clear from the above introduction that the main point of differentiation between a closed and an open question pertains to the kind of response each one generates. If you have taken an exam where you had to select from one of the four alternatives given against each question, you know you were facing closed ended questions as you just had to tick one of the alternatives. On the other hand, you must also remember exams where your knowledge of the subject was tested as you were required to give answer to questions in detail extracting information from your brain.

Researchers make use of both open ended and close ended questions to elucidate responses from the subjects through their questionnaires. With closed end questions, researchers can make a quick analysis of the answers, whereas it takes a lot of time to come to a conclusion with open ended questions. When there is one correct answer to a question, it is a closed end question and will generate either correct or wrong answer which makes the task of an examiner easier. On the other hand, in an exam where there are open ended questions only examiner’s knowledge is tested as much as the candidate while evaluating the answer sheet. However, there are instances when a researcher prefers to go with open ended questions as they generate a lot more responses that are varied in content and tell a lot about the personality of the candidate.

You must have seen both quizzes as well as a round of long question and answers sessions in your school as well as on TV. There is no doubt that quizzes are like 2 minute noodles and look exciting. But long current affair programs where a host conducts a debate and participants come up with their views and opinions on a topic generates much more information that closed ended question and answer session.

What is the difference between Open and Closed Questions?

• Closed questions are questions having one correct answer. Questions like what is your name; height, weight address etc are examples of closed ended questions. Multiple choice questions where a candidate has to choose one of the alternatives are also closed questions.

• On the other hand, questions that do not have a perfect answer and require a person to come up with additional details and information are referred to as open ended questions.

• Both closed, as well as open ended questions have their use and researchers make use of both types to gain an insight into a subject.