Week 2: Effective Questioning
To understand a person’s issues and needs, you need to gather information. Sometimes, people openly offers information; however, an interviewer usually feels a need to understand a situation in more depth by discovering more than a person offers spontaneously. A natural inclination is to ask questions to clarify and add depth to the interview information. Asking the right questions, at the right time, can be extremely useful in helping people explore issues and in yielding important information. For example, if a person tells you that he fears his marriage is over, you will likely ask, what the sources of conflict are between him and his wife and what have they already tried to address them. Conversely, asking the wrong question at the wrong time can lead to a person’s withdrawal, a breach of trust, or a sense of alienation. For example, if that same person told you that he fears his marriage is over and you asked if there is anyone else waiting in the wings that he might be romantically interested in, your question might damage your rapport with him.
Interviewers use closed questions, open questions, and minimal encouragement to facilitate interviewee disclosure. Closed questions, questions that probe for specific information, should be used carefully. Specific questions can limit a person’s response and sometimes threaten trust, depending on a person’s cultural background. Open questions allow a person to express his or her own thoughts and feelings without truncating the response or demanding specific information. Using a minimum amount of prompts to encourage the interviewee disclosure is an important communication skill. This week, you will develop skills related to the use of questions and minimal encouragement in an interview.
Be sure to review this week’s resources carefully. You are expected to apply the information from these resources when you prepare your assignments.
Evans, D. R., Hearn, M. T., Uhlemann, M. R., & Ivey, A. E. (2017). Essential interviewing: A programmed approach to effective communication.
Read Chapter 3
Week 2 – Assignment: Interpret Methods in Asking Questions (11 Points)
You may have conducted interviews in which you found yourself exhausted after only 5-10 minutes. You may have realized that you ware working so much harder than the interviewee, which should have been a ‘red flag’ suggesting that you were using closed questions (“How old is that sister?” “Is she married?”). If you allow the person to keep answering with one-word answers, it becomes more like a guessing game. When you switch to well-formulated open-ended questions (“What can you tell me about your relationship with your sister?”), you are likely to get much more useful information to help the interviewee to move forward.
If you are like most people, you have at some point in your life played the game, “20 Questions.” In this game, Player 1 thinks of a person, place, or thing, and Player 2 tries to guess what it is, but can only ask closed questions that Player 1 can only answer with “Yes” or “No.”
For this assignment, you will conduct two separate role-played interviews (You can use the same volunteer for both – be sure to have all volunteers complete a consent form). Have your volunteer think of any two problems they might be facing in their life (preferably not real but imagined). They can be as wild and crazy as they would like, such as, “My llama ate my dining room table, so now I won’t get my deposit back on the apartment” and, “My roommate is a werewolf.”
For Scenario 1, you must play “20 Questions” to determine what your interviewee’s imaginary Problem #1 is. You only get 20 questions, and only “Yes-No” answers are allowed.
For Scenario 2, you must determine what your interviewee’s Problem #2 is, but you are allowed to ask open-ended questions.
Based on your two mock interviews, imagine you have been asked to speak to an undergraduate Counseling Skills course. Create a PowerPoint presentation to compare the results of the two mock interviews. Include the following in your presentation:
- Explain how different kinds of questions are used for different purposes in interviews.
- Compare your experiences with both types of questions in this exercise. Which method of questioning felt more natural to you, and which felt like more work? Explain how your interviewee’s responses differed across the two sessions.
- Recommend questioning strategies to obtain needed information from clients, and then relate them to your future work as a helper.
Incorporate appropriate animations, transitions, and graphics as well as speaker notes for each slide. The speaker notes may be comprised of brief paragraphs or bulleted lists and should cite material appropriately.
Support your presentation with at least five scholarly resources. In addition to these specified resources, other appropriate scholarly resources may be included.
Length: 12-15 slides (with a separate reference slide)
Notes Length: 200-350 words for each slide
Submit your consent form(s) as well.
Be sure to include citations for quotations and paraphrases with references in APA format and style where appropriate. Save the file as PPT with the correct course code information. Upload your document, and then click the Submit to Dropbox button.
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3
- Select interview techniques for various purposes of psychology.
- Critique one’s own communication skills needed in helping professions.
- Portray human communication skills used in professional settings.