Open-ended question

Open-ended question

Open-ended question definition:

An open-ended question (also known as Comment or Verbatim) cannot be answered with a simple "yes", "no", or one-word answer. Instead, an open question is likely to receive a long answer, which makes them ideal for qualitative instead of quantitative information.

Although any question can receive a long answer, open questions deliberately seek longer answers in the form of a list, a few sentences or something longer such as a speech, paragraph or essay. Open questions often begin with words such as what, why, how and describe.

Like every question type, the open-ended question isn't without fault. For your convenience, we listed the biggest pros and cons advantages and disadvantages below.

Advantages of open-ended questions:

  • Allow an infinite number of possible answers
  • Give you qualitative data
  • Collect more detail
  • Gain (unexpected) insights
  • Understand how your respondent thinks
  • Ask without knowing the answer (unlike closed-ended questions, where all possible options are given)
  • Will give you opinions and feelings, adding value to the answer

Disadvantages of open-ended questions:

  • Will give you opinions and feelings, thus making some answers subjective
  • They take longer to complete, increasing survey fatigue and completion rate
  • Limited amount of questions you can ask

Open-ended questions examples:

What’s your reason for reading this blog post?

Describe your last visit?

Why have you responded to this listing?

What do you think about the two candidates in this election?


Check our guide on how to create your own open-ended questions in our tool.

Vincent is the author of this solution article.

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