After completing the activities of this learning unit, you will be skilled in writing various types of questions, reflecting on good information seeking skills and knowing why asking the right questions matter in school, in the transition to college and in college and beyond.
Students who enter the college environment are often plagued with uncertainty as they are engaging in new activities, find new freedoms, make decisions about career paths, begin to separate from their parents, and adjusting to college life. One way in which students can cope with this uncertainty and adjustment is through information seeking, or question asking. While this skill is valuable for adjusting to a new environment and culture, it is also a skill that will help students in multiple contexts beyond college life.
This exercise was developed by Drs. Brandi Frisby and Anthony Limperos. They are faculty members in the Department of Communication, University of Kentucky's College of Communication and Information.
A similar kind of activity has been used as an opening exercise in CIS110 Composition and Communications, a required course in the University's general education program, UK Core. Within this requirement, students are expected to demonstrate competent written, oral, and visual communication skills both as producers and consumers of information.
You are unclear on a requirement for an assignment.
Students need to ask clarifying questions to ensure academic success.
Source: Image from KnowHow2Go.org Virtual Campus Tour, http://knowhow2go.org/campustour
Paul Bennett, "The importance of asking the right questions"
Using one of the scenarios above or one from your own life experience, download and complete the chart below to practice writing simple and more complex, thought provoking questions.
There are four basic types of general questions:
There are many different specific types of questions that are variations of these four basic types.
Questions can be neutral, leading, primary and secondary\probing (define).
- responses are different depending on the type of question. Depth of response will depend on the level of question from simple to complex. (tie to chart)
- reflecting and seeking feedback form others helps makes you a better question developer and a more effective information seeker.
Use the videos below to identify
(a) examples of different kinds of questions, and
(b) different levels of questions.
What are your overall thoughts on the responses solicited from the interview?
This video is one of a series called "The Right Questions" by Pomona College. The Admissions staff at Pomona encourage students to ask the right questions—and getting answers from people who know: current Pomona students.
Source: "The Right Questions Part 4 - Michael Maltese." (2012). Pomona College. http://vimeo.com/40969818
This a an example of flawed communication between a nurse and a consumer of mental health services. It was made for a class on Therapeutic Communication to discuss best practices in questioning and active listening techniques.
Source: "Bad example of Communication," http://youtu.be/ZarN-cEkrRs.
Warren Berger, "Big Innovations Question the Status Quo. How Do You Ask the Right Questions?" Fast Company. http://www.fastcodesign.com/1663429/big-innovations-question-the-status-quo-how-do-you-ask-the-right-questions.
Gary B. Cohen, "Leadership: How to Ask the Right Questions," BloombergBusiness. http://www.businessweek.com/managing/content/sep2009/ca20090929_639660.htm
"Questioning Skills," Exforsys Inc. http://www.exforsys.com/career-center/questioning-skills.html
"Interpersonal Communication Skills Test," Cyberia Shrink, Queendom.com. http://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=87772
Michael Brown and Mike Ponting, "The Questioning Game," http://youtu.be/cAy-LP1gFzI
Tom Searcy, "Problem-Solving Trick: Ask the Right Question," Inc. http://www.inc.com/tom-searcy/problem-solving-trick-ask-the-right-question.html.