- Closed questions or Polar questions
These are the most common and the easiest questions. The answer to these questions is just one word, such as ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Some typical examples are:
“Can you do this work?”
“Are you responsible for this fault?”
They may also include multiple-choice questions like,
“What should we do now for this problem – fix it ourselves, hire someone to fix it or leave it is?”
These questions are popular as icebreaker questions in starting a conversation as they are easy to answer and start a dialogue with others.
- Open questions
Open-ended questions cannot be answered with a simple “Yes” or “No” and require deeper thinking and encourage wider discussion and elaboration. Some typical examples are:
“What causes could have led to this situation?”
“What can we do now to fix this problem?”
These questions are very important as they require critical thinking and/or creative discussion. For problem-solving, most of the prominent authors have stressed asking open questions rather than closed questions, as they lead to finding out more information and dive deeper into solutions.
While most English textbooks divide questions only into Open and Closed questions, many other types of questions have been proposed by some researchers. These sub-categories of open questions are described below  and .
1. Leading questions
While probing questions are not intended to lead the discussion or results in any direction, leading questions lead the respondent towards a certain desired positive or negative route. These types of questions bias the respondent towards something. Let’s look at some examples.
Here both the above questions have an implied negative bias – the project is likely to have issues and the new system is troublesome. Let us now look at their counterpart questions.
Here both the above questions have an implied positive bias – the project is enjoyable and the new system is useful.
Both above questions are asked with a judgemental mindset (described later in the chapter on Test your mentality in this book). While these biases are very good for persuasion and sales, they are not good for problem-solving. For problem-solving, we need to ask questions with a neutral bias, such as:
2. Loaded questions
Loaded questions appear to be straightforward, closed questions, but they have an element of twist. These questions contain an assumption about the respondent. These questions are very popular among lawyers and journalists as they often try to trick their interviewee into admitting a fundamental truth they would otherwise be unwilling to disclose. Here are a few examples.
Here the question assumes that respondents have been stealing or taking drugs in the past. Irrespective of whether a person answers “Yes” or “No”, they fall into the trap of accepting the indirect allegations against them.
Probing questions are intended for gaining clarification and more information about a subject. Probing questions are usually a series of questions, which dive deeper into a subject and provide a full picture. Typical examples are:
These questions are oriented towards finding more information, avoid misunderstandings and getting the bigger picture.
4. Recall and process questions
Recall questions require the recipient to recall or remember something. Here are some examples.
Process questions require the respondent to add their own opinion to their answer and can test the respondent’s depth of knowledge about a particular topic. Here are a few examples.
Recall questions are useful for creating past inferences, while process questions are useful for encouraging critical thinking and in-depth evaluation of a subject.
5. Rhetorical questions
Rhetorical questions are questions that do not require an answer. They’re simply statements phrased as questions to make the conversation more engaging for the listener, who is drawn into agreeing with you. Politicians, lecturers, priests and speakers use such questions to increase the engagement with the audience and make them agree with their arguments. These questions are also close cousins of leading questions. Here are a few examples.
The above questions are more engaging than simply saying that today’s event is wonderful, or the audience is spectacular.
6. Funnel questions
Funnel questions are an important tool in problem-solving and sales. Similar to a funnel, these questions begin broadly before narrowing to a specific point — or vice versa. As the questioning process proceeds, it becomes more (or less) restrictive at each step. These questions start with open questions and later end up in closed questions or vice versa. Here are a few examples.
Here is a classic sales example.
Funnel questions play an important part in any problem solving and more details are described in later chapters of this book.
7. Judgemental Questions
Often, we ask questions using a judgemental attitude, where we judge people or situations based on our experiences. In this judgemental mode, we are reactive to situations and look out for finding a person responsible for the problem rather than looking for its actual solution. For example, questions like, “Who is responsible for this?” or “Why can’t the government remove the taxes on our income?” Here the core idea behind asking a question is a blame game rather than problem-solving. The problem with this approach is that because of our judging attitude, we end up asking questions that support our beliefs and free us from the guilt of being responsible for the situation. Another variant of these questions is when the questioner assumes that they already know the answers. For example,
Here the question assumes that respondents have been always coming late or have been cheating people or have been smoking in the past. With such a biased questioning approach, questioning serves no useful purpose, and it is best to not get into the trap of judgemental questioning.
On a lighter note:
 Guthrie, Georgina. “The 8 Essential Questioning Techniques You Need to Know.” Typetalk, 28 Nov. 2018, www.typetalk.com/blog/the-8-essential-questioning-techniques-you-need-to-know.
 “Types of Question – Effective Questioning | SkillsYouNeed.” skillsyouneed.com, www.skillsyouneed.com/ips/question-types.html.