Open-ended questions are the questions asked that do not give the option of a yes/no answer, instead, they require full sentences. They usually signify the beginning of a dialogue.

If you sincerely want to connect on deeper levels and encourage other people to talk about themselves, you should ideally use open-ended questions to stimulate your conversation and get the ball rolling.

What is Open Ended Question

Open-ended questions are those which require more thought and more than a simple one-word answer. An open-ended question is designed to encourage a full, meaningful, and deliberate answer using the subject’s own knowledge and/or feelings.

It is the opposite of a closed-ended question, which encourages a short or single-word answer.

Read More: Close Ended Questions:Definition + [Questionnaire Examples]

Uses of Open-Ended Questions

  • Interviews

Open-ended questions are used for interviews, with the caveat that there are those with no right or wrong answers. An interview question, for example, could be along the lines of a person asking an interviewee about their past work experience. As a requirement, Open-ended questions demand that the applicant offer more detail and demonstrate their ability to communicate effectively.

  • Education

Open-ended questions can be used in examinations such that the student is required to provide a response. Unlike multiple-choice(close-ended) tests that do not allow much, if any, room for error, open-ended questions give the students room to convince the examiner. Usually, a test is composed of a few open-ended questions compared to the 50 to 100-question multiple-choice(close-ended) assessment.

  • Surveys

For a Survey, open-ended questions are ideal for a number of reasons. First, they allow an infinite number of possible answers. They also collect more detail and the person administering the questions might even learn something they didn’t expect. For complex issues, open-ended questions ensure you get adequate answers. Lastly, open-ended questions for a survey encourage creative answers and self-expression and help you understand how your respondents think.


  • Business

In transacting business, open-ended questions are essential for sales success. They allow reps to get inside the head of prospects and better understand their pain points. The right open-ended questions help ensure that reps are building rapport, uncovering pain points, establishing needs, and clearly articulating the value of their offering.

How to Ask or Craft Open-Ended Questions

Since open-ended questions are designed to prompt long, detailed answers, here are a few tips that can help you ask open-ended questions better.

  • Start your questions with How, Why, What, etc
  • Ensure you as questions that ask for the reasons behind events, try to clarify or investigate issues
  • Avoid asking questions that can be answered with a Yes/No. Instead, use leading questions. For example, ‘Do you think you can lift 50kg in one go?’ Will not prompt the respondent to offer more information. Instead, ask ‘Why do you think you can/cannot lift 50kg in one go?’
  • Follow up close-ended questions with open-ended ones. 

Examples of Open-Ended Questions

  1. When do you need to get this issue resolved?
  2. What do you see as the next action steps for the firm?
  3. What is your timeline for purchasing this product?
  4. What other data points should we know before moving forward?
  5. How did you get involved in the business?
  6. What kind of challenges are you facing?
  7. What’s the most important priority to you with this? Why?
  8. What other issues are important to you?
  9. What would you like to see improved?
  10. How do you measure their weight?
  11. What budget has been established for this product?
  12. What are your thoughts?
  13. Who else is involved in this decision?
  14. What could make this no longer a priority?
  15. What’s changed since we last talked?
  16. What concerns do you have?
  17. What time did that happen?
  18. When do these issues arise?
  19. What is this problem costing you?
  20. What would you change about your current solution?
  21. Have you given up trying to fix the problem?
  22. Who else needs to be involved in this purchase decision?
  23. What’s your budget?
  24. How do you think changing this area could improve your day-to-day work?
  25. What would you want to achieve in the next year by making this change?
  26. If time and money were no object and you had full authority to do whatever you want, what would you change about your current system?
  27. What has your past purchase experience been with Apple watches?
  28. When was the last time you evaluated something like this?
  29. Why or why not would you say you were satisfied with your past experiences with this vendor?
  30. How would you describe the level of service with your current provider?

Advantages of Open-Ended Questions over Close-Ended Questions 

  • Freedom of expression

Open-ended questions allow you to better understand the respondent’s true feelings and attitudes about the survey subject. Close-ended questions, due to their limitations, do not give respondents the choice to truly give their opinions.

Open-ended questions allow respondents taking your survey to include more information, giving you, the researcher, more useful, contextual feedback. Close-ended questions provide none of those. The answers are short, concise, and very direct.

  • Additional Information

Open-ended questions in surveys solicit additional information to be contributed by respondents. They are sometimes also called infinite-response questions or unsaturated-type questions. Generally, close-ended questions require respondents to answer in just one or two words.

  • Reduce Errors

Open-ended questions cut down on two types of response error; respondents are not likely to forget the answers they have to choose from if they are given the chance to respond freely, and open-ended questions simply do not allow respondents to disregard reading the questions and just “fill in” the survey with all the same answers.

  • Demographic Information

Since open-ended questions allow for obtaining extra information from the respondent, such as demographic information, surveys that use open-ended questions can be used more readily for secondary analysis by other researchers than can surveys that do not provide contextual information about the survey population.

When to Choose Open-Ended Questions Over Close-Ended Questions

If you’re looking for questions that allow someone to give a free-form answer, the open-ended questions are the choice. Even though close-ended questions are often good for surveys, because you get higher response rates because users don’t have to type so much, they don’t accomplish this.

A key benefit of open-ended questions is that they allow you to find more than you anticipate. People are more likely to share motivations that you didn’t expect and mention behaviors and concerns that you knew nothing about. When you ask people to explain things to you, they often reveal surprising mental models, problem-solving strategies, hopes, fears, and much more. Closed-ended questions stop the conversation and eliminate any surprises.

Guide To Interpreting Open-Ended Questionnaire Data

As much as Open-ended questions provide the most feedback, it is important to note that they are a lot harder to analyze. This is because, unlike close-ended questions that provide quantitative data, open-ended questions provide qualitative data.

There are a number of things you should note when interpreting Open-Ended Questionnaire Data, here are a few guides to help you on your way.

  • Spend time perusing through your responses – As you get to understand your data, make a mental note to highlight all interesting answers you think will be relevant.
  • Categorize your answers – Ensure you have at least one category assigned to each answer. It is possible that one answer fits into more than one category.
  • Sort the categories – In the existing categories, strip them down to sub-categories, this is so that you maintain an understanding of the answers. For example, a category like Service can be subdivided into customer satisfaction and referrals.
  • Review your responses – In the different categories and sub-categories, review the response that had the most responses and decipher the recurring theme.
  • Prepare your conclusions – At this point, you’re beginning to see a pattern. You can now make comparisons with those open-ended questions that have similarities with the quantitative answers from closed-ended questions.

Why Formplus is the Best Data Collection Tool for Open-Ended Survey

  • Short & Long Text Field

With the Short text field, best used for receiving short/single-line text-based answers such as names, location, and statements, you can set a minimum and maximum length of characters your users can input. 

The Long text field, as provided by Formplus, is ideal for long answers such as addresses, comments, additional ideas, suggestions, messages, and short essay answers. 

  • File Management

You can use Formplus to send form responses to Google Sheets instantly. The Google Sheets integration makes it easy to collaborate on documents and keep your team members up-to-date.

  • Export Data in PDF/CSV

Formplus lets you store tabular data, such as a spreadsheet or database. Also in the Formplus Responses setting you can customize the email notification message, including the user’s response in the notification email sent. You can also receive submissions as a PDF/Doc attachment in your emails as well as enable the option to display images on your attachments.

  • Data Storage

Formplus has an unlimited file upload storage, you can submit files, photos, or videos via your online forms without any restriction to the size or number of files that can be uploaded.  You can choose to store your received data in your cloud storage of choice. There is also a native Google Sheets integration, which lets you get survey responses updated into spreadsheets automatically created for each form.

  • Customization

Formplus’ easy-to-use form builder allows you to create powerful forms within minutes. Simply click or drag and drop your desired form fields into the builder. You can build any type of online form ranging from Contact Forms to Inventory Forms, Formplus has the tools to help you collect data seamlessly.

  • Visual Analytics

You can also monitor your survey performance and identify your traffic source and location with Formplus Analytics. With online form builder analytics, you can determine the number of times the open-ended survey was filled and the number of respondents who reached the abandonment rate. You can also find out the location of respondents as well as the type of device used by the respondent to complete the survey.

How to Conduct an Open-Ended Survey with Formplus Data Collection Tool 

Start creating your Open-Ended Survey by signing up with either your Google, Facebook, or Email account. There’s a free plan with limited features you can use to get started.

Sign up to design your Open-Ended Survey with Formplus.

Input your Open-Ended Survey title and use the form builder choice options to start creating your Survey.

Add an input field such as long text to get started.

Beautify your Open-Ended Survey with Formplus Customisation features.


  • Set the form width and layout
  • Change the form background type and color to suit your brand
  • Add your brand’s logo and image to the forms
  • Change font color and sizes
  • Edit submission button to match form color
  • Do you have already made custom CSS to beautify your open-ended? If yes, just copy and paste it to the CSS option.

Edit your Open-ended survey settings for your specific needs

  • Formplus builder gives you the liberty to choose your storage options (Formplus Storage, Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive).
  • You can also limit the number of responses, enable Captcha to prevent spamming, and collect information about your respondent’s location.

Set an introductory message to respondents before they begin the survey

  • Toggle the “start button” to post the final submission message or redirect respondents to another page when they submit their survey responses. 
  •  Initiate an autoresponder message for all your survey respondents. 

Share links to your Open-ended survey page with respondents

There’s an option to copy and share the link as a “Popup” or “Embed code” The data collection tool automatically creates a QR Code for Survey Questionnaire that you can download and share as appropriate.

View Responses to the Open-ended Survey

Toggle with the presentation of your summary from the options. Whether as a single, table or cards. In addition, you can make graphs from received responses, and translate these into charts and key metrics. 

Let Formplus Analytics interpret your data from your Open-ended survey

You can also monitor your form performance and identify your traffic source and location with Formplus Analytics.

With online form builder analytics, you can determine:

  • The number of times the open-ended survey was filled
  • The number of respondents reached
  • Abandonment Rate: The rate at which respondents exit the open-ended survey without submitting it.
  • The percentage of respondents who completed the online form
  • Average time spent per visit
  • Location of respondents.
  • The type of device used by the respondents to complete the open-ended survey


In any circumstance, open-ended questions guarantee a much more effective result in communication. In the search for a complete and meaningful answer, you need to employ open-ended questions. The best part of Open-ended questions is that they prompt respondents to provide answers using their own words.

For a survey, open-ended questions provide a researcher with qualitative data that they can draw inferences from. On the whole, Open-ended questions make respondents include more information, including feelings, attitudes, and understanding of the subject matter.

  • busayo.longe
  • on 10 min read


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