Advantages and Disadvantages of Open and Closed Questions


“No one is dumb who is curious. The people who don’t ask questions remain clueless throughout their lives.”

— Neil deGrasse Tyson




A good question always invites a good answer.


On the other hand, a bad question tends to lead to a poor answer in return.


So, what are the advantages of open and closed questions?


And what are the disadvantages of open and closed questions?


Let’s find out now.



Advantages of Open-Ended Questions


  • Open-ended questions allow the respondent to comprehend what is being asked better than closed questions.
  • Open questions cater to an array of different types of response.
  • Open questions make it easier – depending on the question, of course – to understand the logic behind the question. This makes it easier to provide an appropriate answer.
  • Open-ended questions tend to encourage the respondent to feel that the person asking the questions is, indeed, interested in what they have to say.


Disadvantages of Open Questions


  • If it’s a large group that the questions are being directed to, it can take time to receive a response because the group may work together in generating an appropriate response.
  • Open-ended questions can encourage a lot of “noise.” In which case, frequently, a deep understanding of the question can fail to arise.
  • For very large-sized groups, open-ended questions are generally not appropriate.



Advantages of Closed Questions


  • Closed-ended questions can lead to more appropriate responses which are easier to compare when in a group setting.
  • Almost none of the answers received will be difficult to understand.
  • Closed-ended questions are easy to understand and quick to generate a response.



Disadvantages of Closed-Ended Questions


  • Closed-ended questions don’t tend to encourage the respondent to consider a deeper topic understanding.
  • Closed questions make it difficult for the questioner to determine if there’s a misunderstanding of the question.
  • Closed questions can make it difficult for a respondent to provide the right answer.
  • In turn, the respondent may feel frustrated, given they provided an inadequate response to the question.


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay