What Are Some Examples of Probing Questions?

Examples of probing questions are: “What happened next?” “What would you do differently next time?” “How did you feel about that?” “What was your actual role in that?” “Why did you choose that method?” Probing questions are open-ended questions that are asked to gain in-depth information.

Probing questions are asked to clarify a situation, to provide detail to an answer already given or to understand a person’s feelings. A good probing question is worded in such a way to encourage individuals to provide details in their answers. A probing question is often asked after an initial open-ended question. For example: “How do you respond in a difficult situation?” The individual may provide a response, but it may be necessary to ask a probing question afterward to find out more information. Several probing questions can be asked, but asking too many could be intimidating, having a negative effect.

As probing questions are often open-ended questions, they should begin with “who,” “what,” “why,” “when,” “where” or “how.” One should not confuse a closed-ended question for a probing question. For example, “Can you tell me what happened next?” is a closed question and may be answered with a straightforward, “No.” Reword the question to ask, “What happened next?” This type of probing question encourages a more elaborate response with supporting details.