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Mastering Questioning Techniques

Glowing question mark in a dark graffitied hall

by Business Analysis,

The ability to extract information, facilitate discussions, and enable informed decisions is invaluable. One of the most powerful tools in a business analyst’s arsenal is the skill to know when and what questions to ask. This blog helps to explain different types of open and closed questions, along with practical examples of when and how to use them effectively in a business analyst role.

Open Questions

Open questions encourage detailed responses and invite stakeholders to share their perspectives, insights, and ideas.

Question Description Example
Recall Recall questions retrieve specific information or facts from memory.


Can you recall the key milestones achieved during the last quarter?
Process Process questions help stakeholders explain their workflow or procedures step by step. How do you currently handle customer inquiries from start to finish?


Divergent Divergent questions encourage creative thinking and brainstorming by asking for a wide range of ideas or solutions.


There is no right or wrong answer but encourages people to share an opinion.

What are some innovative ways we can improve our product’s user experience?
Probing Probing questions dig deeper into a topic to uncover hidden details or explore potential issues. Why do you think the sales figures declined significantly last month?
Comparison Comparison questions prompt stakeholders to evaluate and contrast different options or scenarios. What are the key differences between the proposed marketing strategies?
Application Application questions ask stakeholders how they plan to implement or apply a specific solution or idea. To best focus the project teams efforts on resolving your teams pain points. Please advise which system pain points are high, medium, low priority and why?
Problem Solving Problem solving questions guide stakeholders through identifying, analysing, and solving complex issues. What strategies can we employ to address the recurring quality control problems?
Affective Affective questions delve into stakeholders’ emotions, attitudes, or feelings regarding a particular topic. How did the recent change in management affect your team’s morale and productivity?
Rhetorical questions Questions that are intended to not elicit a response but rather to state an opinion.


Rhetorical questions can be used as an opening question when starting an elicitation meeting to drive critical thinking.

Can we afford to underestimate the significance of improving the student experience?

Closed Questions

Closed questions are designed to extract specific information. They play a crucial role in confirming details, assessing situations, and making data-driven decisions.

Question Description Example
Leading These questions subtly influence the respondent’s answer by implying a preferred response.


Be cautious when using leading questions, as they can bias the results.

Don’t you agree that implementing this new software will significantly improve efficiency?
Loaded Loaded questions often include multiple points or assumptions within a single question, making it challenging for the respondent to provide an accurate answer. How satisfied are you with the software’s great user interface, performance, and support?
Evaluation These questions are used to assess or measure the respondent’s opinion or satisfaction level regarding a particular topic. On a scale of 1 to 10, how satisfied are you with the current project timeline?
Interference Interference questions involve the introduction of irrelevant or misleading information to test the respondent’s ability to focus on the core issue. Considering the recent positive feedback from customers, how problematic is the software bug?
Structuring Structuring questions help organize information or guide the conversation in a logical sequence. Does anyone have any questions on today’s meeting agenda?

Striking a Balance

Effective business analysts understand that both closed and open questions have their place in various scenarios. To excel in your role, practice tailoring your questions to the context, stakeholder, and objectives of each discussion.

Honing questioning techniques is essential for becoming a skilled business analyst. By mastering the art of asking questions, you can uncover insights, make informed decisions, and contribute significantly to your organization’s success.

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