Effective questions provide a pathway to understanding situations, problems or issues. However, whilst most people are used to asking simple questions, particularly in social situations, it is not always easy to ask the ’right’ questions that will provide the information that is needed. In the clinical environment, there are many different kinds of interactions which involve asking questions. These include interactions with patients, family members, health professional team members to name a few. Questioning is also a very important teaching and learning strategy. Effective questioning enables supervisors to find out more about how they can help students learn. It also enables students to increase their knowledge, skills and confidence for working in the clinical environment. Some strategies that promote effective questioning include the following:
Research on questioning and information processing indicates that we need at least three seconds to comprehend a question, consider the available information, formulate an answer, and begin to respond. This likely to be longer for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Research has also shown that teachers typically wait only 1.5 seconds after asking a question before intervening.
Watch these Videos to see what students and staff have to say about asking questions. While you’re watching the videos, think about your own questioning skills and what you can learn from the information in this section that will help you ask the ‘right’ questions even more effectively.