What is the difference between a closed and open question in research?
Paul Stallard - Monday June 17th 2019
The basic difference between a open and closed question is merely the detail requested to fully answer the question within your research. A closed question is simply one that the participant can answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to. An open question requires far more detail, and invites the person responding to provide information into how they feel and what they think about a subject. Or in layman’s terms – multiple choice.
Both open and closed question types could have their place within your questionnaire and it is important to include a varied selection of each. It is also important however to judge what form of question will best suit your aims. For instance, if you simply want to know how many people own a toaster for example, closed questions will work. If you would like to know how many people are unhappy with their toaster and why they want to buy a new one, an open question will suit your questionnaire better.
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