marisa morby

Asking better questions: leading vs. open questions

The problem with leading questions

One of the biggest problems on research calls is asking leading questions. They can easily derail an interview and make any insights you get biased and often wrong. They'll lead you down a path that doesn't actually solve problems, because you've seeded the interviews with leading questions.

It's even harder when you're in the middle of a call and worry about filling the silence.

First of all, don't worry too much about the silence. Leaving some silence is just fine because it actually encourages participants to talk. They likely won't want to sit in silence either, so they will try and fill it in by talking. That usually leads to some really good conversation that you wouldn't have had if you were in the middle of trying to ask a question.

Leading questions vs. open questions

So what makes a leading question vs. an open question? Let's look at a few:





All of the leading questions closed, meaning they have a limited scope for an answer or yes / no answers. Instead, we want to keep questions as open ended as possible.

Remember that the whole point of research is to start up a conversation so you can listen. So ask open ended questions, leave a little silence, and get ready to listen!