Nat 515: Mod 4
Writing closed & open questions
By Kimmer Collison-Ris
MSN, FNP-BC, WOCN, MS CAM
Option 1: Instructions
Writing Closed and Open Questions
• Review Exercise 1: Writing Closed and Open
Questions in Ivey (Chapter 5, p. 133)
– Select one or more of the client stories provided and
then write open and closed questions to elicit further
– Can you ask closed questions designed to bring out
specifics of the situation?
– Can you use open questions to facilitate further
elaboration of the topic, including the facts, feelings,
and possible reasons?
– What special considerations might be beneficial with
each person as you consider age-related multicultural
“The purpose of asking questions
is to help a session to develop and
draw out a client’s story”
Open & Closed Questions
Types of Questions
• Both styles are part of information gathering
• Both also part of the basic listening sequence
– designed to be answered in a few words
– used to refocus the topic, change topics, or lead a conversation
– offer little relationship development
– Can provide specific responses
– often produce these answers:
• “No”, “Yes”, or “I don’t know.”
– broad and often require many words to be answered
– generally prefaced with who, what, where, when, why, or could
– used to develop more information
– Used to gain valuable knowledge about the client ‘s story
Difficulties in Questioning
• Certain age groups can perceive questions as
intrusive if trust is not established
• Younger age groups may not understand the
questions or be in touch with their
• Some cultures view North American rapid fire
questions rude & intrusive (especially if asked
before trust is developed)
• Too many questions can cause client
defensiveness as they may feel
Alicija (35 yo F, Polish American)
“I’ve been passed over for a promotion three times
now. Each time, it’s been a man who has been picked
for the next level. I’m getting very angry and
Designed to bring out broad information,
facts, feelings and emotions, and reasons.
• Can you tell me about your current job?
• What kinds of opportunities are available
in your current job setting?
• What do you believe might do to be more
visable and valuable in your current job?
• What would you want to do if you didn’t
work at this current job?
• How long have you been working at your
• How have you been coping with this
• Why do you get the feeling that you have
been passed over before?
These are designed to bring out useful
• Have you had a recent performance
• Do you get regular feedback from your
current supervisor about your job
• Do you believe there is someone who
might advise you on adding more skills to
gain a promotion?
• Are you able to concentrate on your work
with this sudden disappointment?
• Is there someone in HR you can go to talk
to about your concerns?
• Where do you think you should go for
adding additional work skills?
Designed to bring out concrete examples & details
that might make the problem more specific and
• Can you tell me about your life?
• Tell me a little bit more about the company you
• Can you tell me how you happened to work for
• Can you tell me what your goals for your future
• How does this situation remind you of other
experiences you have had?
• Can you tell me more about the other
promotions you have applied for and how they
are similar or different?
• Is there any reason why you might not be
promoted that you can think of?
• This was a hard situation as there was very little
information that was given to me regarding Alicija. She
may have been absolutely right that she was not
promoted but qualified and a men were hired instead. I
would want to slowly ask questions and give her plenty
of opportunity to explain. If she got into a cycle of
repeating the scenario, I might ask her about the
company she works for. I might ask her about her goals
and future dreams. I would want to find out more
about her cultural background and common norms to
be sure that my body language, nonverbal behavior,
and active listening skills were not offensive. I would
attempt to make it safe to talk and explore her goals.
• Arloski M. (2014). Wellness Coaching for
Lasting Lifestyle Change (2nd ed.) Duluth, MN:
Whole Person Associates, Inc.
• Creducation.org (2015). Open ended
questions. Retrieved from
• Ivey AE, Ivey MB, and Zalaquett CP. (2014).
Intentional Interviewing and Counseling, 8th
Ed. California: Brooks/Cole.