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Skilled Interpersonal Communication (chapter 5).

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The main aim of chapter five: ‘Finding out about others: the skill of questioning’ in Hargie O. (2011) Skilled Interpersonal Communication: Research, Theory and Practice. 5th ed. London: Routledge, is to assist the reader to understand how using appropriate questioning techniques can assist a person in ascertaining information.

One of the of the themes in the chapter is about misinformation and non-verbal signs, how they can affect a response.  Another theme is that when it comes to questioning a variety of techniques used together can have a better success rate than using just one technique and can make a more effective communicator.  Hargie, discusses the converse of this also and claims that here is also some suggestion that there are occasions when just one, or two techniques used together has a more effective effect.  As evidence to support this Hargie states “closed questions are usually easy to answer” (Hargie, 2011), he goes on to state “In fact finding encounters, they are of particular value”.  As evidence to support his claim, Hargie refers to research conducted and quotes “In the medical sphere it has been shown that doctors are two to three times more likely to ask yes-no questions that any other type of question (Raymond 2003).  As further evidence he then refers to Morrow et al (1993) which found “Pharmacists were following the clinical algorithm approach of eliminative questioning for diagnosis”.

The chapter serves to emphasise that questions when used properly can help a skilled communicator find out the information required, however it also discusses how not all answers are true as misuse of questions or styles can influence an answer.  This serves as an appropriate reminder to not believe everything you hear!

One Comment

  1. Great interpretation, Erland!

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