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.

At Arlington Research we conduct global quantitative research via online (CAWI) and telephone (CATI). We are also able to conduct face to face quantitative research. Our qualitative research methodologies include in-depth interviews, discussion groups and ethnography.

Our bespoke desk research is designed to meet your business objectives.

It is also essential to note that all our research complies with the UK Market Research Society’s Code of Conduct, ESOMAR standards, and market research quality standards for all the countries where research is conducted.

Both types of question could have their place within your questionnaire and it is important to include a varied selection of each.

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