Main Difference – Open vs Closed Questions
Questions can be broadly categorized into two categories; open questions and closed questions. These are also known as open ended and closed ended questions. The main difference between open and closed questions is that open questions are likely to receive long answers whereas closed questions are likely to receive short answers.
What is an Open Question
An open question is a question that has a long response. Open questions are usually asked with the intention of getting to know opinions and ideas of the respondent. They require thinking and reflection; an answer to an open question is often descriptive and explanatory. Open questions usually begin with words like how, why, what, and describe. For example,
Describe the process of pasteurization.
How did you spend your vacation?
How do you feel?
What do you think are the reasons for climate change?
What is a Closed Question
Closed question is a question that can be answered with a single word or a short phrase. Sometimes, a closed question is also defined as a question that can be answered with yes or no. By this definition, the following examples are closed questions.
Are you content?
Did you like the present?
Is that OK with you?
Would you like a cup of coffee?
However, questions that require short answers can also belong to the category of short questions. For example,
What time is it?
What is your name?
How old is she?
Where do you live?
Closed questions are easy to answer and takes less time. The answers given contain facts, not opinions or feelings.
Closed questions usually begin with words like do, would, is, are, will, if, etc. In a conversation, you can turn a sentence into a closed question by adding a tag question.
It’s a nice place, isn’t it?
I will see you tomorrow, won’t I?
You aren’t tired, are you?
Difference Between Open and Closed Questions
Open Questions are questions that have long responses.
Closed Questions are questions that have short responses.
Type of Answers
Open Questions’ answers are often descriptive and explanatory.
Closed Questions’ answers are short and factual.
Open Questions begin with words like how, why, explain, describe, etc.
Closed Questions begin with words like is, would, do, what, etc.
Open Questions are usually used as essay questions.
Closed Questions are usually used as multiple choice questions.
Open Questions usually take a long time to answer.
Closed Questions can usually be answered quickly.