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A closed-ended question is a question format that limits respondents with a list of answer choices from which they must choose to answer the question. Commonly these types of questions are in the form of multiple choices, either with one answer or with check-all-that-apply, but also can be in scale format, where respondent should decide to rate the situation in along the scale continuum, similar to Likert questions.
Respondents are asked to decide where they fit along a scale continuum. These questions contain an ordered set of answers. A common ordinal scale asks about levels of satisfaction.
Open ended questions
A closed-ended question contrasts with an open-ended question, which cannot be answered with a simple "yes" or "no", or with a specific piece of information, and which gives the person answering the question scope to give the information that seems to them to be appropriate. Open-ended questions are sometimes phrased as a statement which requires a response.
Examples of open-ended questions:
- Tell me about your relationship with your supervisor.
- How do you see your future?
- Tell me about the children in this photograph.
- What is the purpose of government?
- Why did you choose that answer?
At the same time, there are closed-ended questions which are sometimes impossible to answer correctly with a yes or no without confusion, for example: "Have you stopped taking heroin?" (if you never took it), see "Loaded question".
- Dillman D., Smyth J., & Christioan LM. (2009) Internet and Mixed-Mode Surveys. The Tailored Design Method. John Wiley & Sons. New Jersey