Closed-ended question

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Ordinal-scale questions[edit]

Further information: Likert scale

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.[1]

Open ended questions[edit]

Main article: Open-ended question

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".

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dillman D., Smyth J., & Christioan LM. (2009) Internet and Mixed-Mode Surveys. The Tailored Design Method. John Wiley & Sons. New Jersey
  • Howard Schuman and Stanley Presser (October 1979). "The Open and Closed Question". American Sociological Review. 44 (5): 692–712. doi:10.2307/2094521. JSTOR 2094521.