What Is an Open-Ended Question?


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An open-ended question starts with "why" or "how" or phrases such as, "What are your thoughts on..." or, "Can you explain..." An open-ended question is designed to avoid yes or no answers, and such questions are often used in classrooms and in job interviews.

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Some common open-ended questions in job interviews are: "How do you define success?" "Why did you leave your most recent job?" and "How do you make difficult decisions?" In classrooms, open-ended questions can be used in many ways and help students develop or exercise critical-thinking skills. For example, in a literature discussion, an example of an open-ended question is, "Why do you think this character acted this way?"

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