Ask the right questions

Ask the right questions in the right setting

In order to get useful answers, you have to ask useful questions – and this is all about framing the questions in the right way. This task often takes longer than you might expect because it can be very difficult to formulate useful questions. On the one hand, the questions should be comprehensible and interesting to young people, and on the other hand they should be able to the deliver results for the desired output. Our best piece of advice is to start drafting the questions as soon as possible and don’t wait until the very last minute. Test the draft questions within your team and preferably also with the young people and the decision-makers and then use their feedback to modify them. This exercise will most likely be a recurring task, but in the end your time is well spent. 

Generally seen, there are two types of questions: open-ended and closed-ended. Your desired output decides the type of question you should ask. Open-ended questions provide you with qualitative insights while closed-ended questions usually produce yes and no answers. Both types of questions have pros and cons. For instance, open-ended questions can generate huge amounts of data while closed-ended questions might not capture the nuances behind the answers.

Types of questions On top of this you have to consider whether a specific question should be posed to the young people in a face-to-face or an online setting. For instance, think twice about debating sensitive topics online. Keep in mind that points of view that are being expressed on the internet live longer than opinions communicated face-to-face. Completely deleting something which has been written in an online public setting proves to be impossible. So, when you plan your project, you should consider whether your discussion topic is really suitable for the OPIN platform, or it would be better to discuss aspects of it at a face-to-face event. The more sensitive the topic is, the stronger the expression of views might be.