Review of Chapter 5 “Finding out about others: the skill of questioning” (Hargie, O. 2011)

The focus of chapter 5 is to portray the characteristics of questions, the differing forms of questioning that exist and the effect that the use of questioning can have upon different scenarios and situations.

 Within the chapter, Hargie stresses the importance of the use of questioning with regards to a child’s cognitive development. Hargie refers to Cook to further emphasise this point by saying, “It is important for the child’s development that parents take time to answer these questions (Cook, 2009).” He further goes on to discuss questioning within the classroom setting. Hargie states that children are less likely to ask questions within the classroom as they believe they may get judged by their peers. Hargie backs this claim up by citing several sources, for example he refers to Dillon who states, “Interestingly, one major reason given by students for their reluctance to ask questions in class is fear of a negative reaction from classmates” (Dillon, 1998). From personal experience, I can relate to this study as in high school I often felt reluctant to asking questions, as I would not like my peers to know that I am struggling or not understanding the given task.

Hargie then goes on to discuss patients and doctors. He discovers that similarly to pupils and teachers, the doctor (like the teacher) is the person who asks majority of questions during their time together. Hargie sited West’s study which states “physicians ask most of the questions and patients provide most of the information” (West, 1983). I both agree and disagree with this statement. I agree with the statement that patients provide most of the information and this is done so for the GP to diagnose what is wrong with the individual. However, I disagree that they ask most questions, from my own experience I have found there is a fair split between myself and the GP for question asking.

Hargie proceeds to discuss different types of questions and their functions. The discussion was focused closely upon open and closed questions. He describes open questions as requiring a longer and more detailed response. On the other hand, Hargie states that closed questions do not require a detailed response and are often short. From this, he believes that closed questions are the easiest questions for an individual to respond to as they may not require a lot of thought. I agree with the above statement from Hargie as I have seen this in action in every-day life, when being asked a closed question it is almost like an instinct to answer without using significant thought process.

Reference List:

“Finding out about others: the Skill of questioning” – Chapter 5 – Hargie, O. (2011) Skilled interpersonal Communication: Research, Theory and Practice 5th ed. London: Routledge