Sophie Cochrane UWS blog

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Review of “Finding out About Others: The Skill of Questioning”


After recently reading a chapter in “Skilled Interpersonal Communication Research, Theory and Practice” I will be giving a summary focused around the theme of questioning. The aim of the chapter is to share the importance of questioning in our life, for many purposes such as education and developing relationships. Closed questions usually include a definite answer, research has shown that responses to closed questions are more specific and directly answer the question (Breakwell et al, 2006). Where as open questions often allow for answers to gradually narrow into a specific answer and allow more room for consideration (Kahn and Cannell, 1957). Therefore, this chapter provides key differences in open and closed questions. This is interesting as it shows how providing a specific structure to a question can guide the answer in a different direction. A theory suggests that embedded questions are found most difficult by children, as they involve more than one question, for example “Do you understand how to behave in the classroom”. As this question asks for understanding i.e. a yes or no answer or is it asking what the behaviour should be. This research does not encourage the use of these questions with young children (Hardy and Van Leeuwen, 2004).



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

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