The Skill of Questioning

The main aim of the chapter is to inform the reader of the skill of questioning by explaining the different types of questioning used in society. Key themes throughout the chapter are education, health care, crime and criminal justice and the use of questioning in everyday life.
Hargie claims that pharmacists asking closed questions could lead to them missing out information. He backs this up by including an example from a study by Morrow et al. (1993) A pharmacist asks a series of closed questions and proceeds to give a product to a client, the client then asks. “What about if you have taken any other tablets?” This then required the pharmacist to reduce the recommended dosage, without this knowledge the client could have overdosed on medicine.
An argument in the chapter that I found interesting was the effect of leading questions on children. Studies show that leading questions can have a distorting effect on children. This has made me think more about the way I would address questions to them.
While I agree with most of what Hargie says I do not find it surprising that social workers mainly ask closed question unlike other councillors. Social workers require accurate and precise information on the children they work with and they are more likely to get this information by asking closed questions. Hargie states that open questions may not be appropriate for respondents with low intellect therefore it is possible that social workers are dealing with clients of a lower calibre.
To help me understand the reading there were a few words that I had to research the meaning of to help me, this included: Stenographer, pervasive, subsumed and abhor
One theory that is explained in the chapter is by Fiedler (1993:362): “The way in which a person is questioned may have a substantial effect on his or her credibility, regardless of what he/she actually says.” I understand this to mean that the way a person is questioned can alter their response.


‘Finding out about others: the skill of questioning’, in Hargie, O. (2011) Skilled Interpersonal Communication: Research, Theory and Practice. 5th ed. London: Routledge.