The Importance of Asking the Right Question

Published July 1, 2016 by monika

So, you know you want to measure something. You’re ready to assess. You’re ready to listen to your customers, your staff, your stakeholders, your users. You’re going to use evidence to assess where you are and compare it to where you want to be, and then you can work out what you need to do. Easy, right? Just get on with it.

Except, it’s not so easy. The question you are going to ask is important. It is vital to get it right, otherwise you end up with useless data. You may not even realise that it is useless data until you share it, and someone asks you a question about it and you realise you missed an opportunity.

So, before you ask your question, here are a list of questions to ask yourself:

  • What do you want to know?
  • Why do you want to know it?
  • What will you do with the information?
  • How will you do this?
  • Is your question a binary choice?

And perhaps most importantly:

  • What are you not asking?
  • What is your question missing out?
  • Is that deliberate?

When you have done this, ask someone else to look at the question(s) you are asking, and ask them to go through the check-list too.

And make sure you ask someone who does not think like you.