What is an Effective Questioner?
questioner needs to have
five broad competencies to be able to construct good relevant questions,
and from these we can draw a definition of an effective questioner.
1 An effective questioner needs firstly to be able to clarify the
Clarifying the context may be the composition of a question at the
Primary layer of inquiry questioning. An example could be posing a
question like ‘What is an effective question?” A learner may pose such a
question to guide and direct their own inquiry and learning.
Clarifying the context may also be the recognition of a problem or issue
and its component parts.
2 An effective questioner needs to be able to identify the
do they need to know? A statement that clarifies what the inquirer needs
to know is an important tool that aids the construction of relevant
questions. If an inquirer can’t identify that they need information
about the breeding cycle it is obviously going to be difficult to ask an
appropriate question. This ability is like the hammer that will help
them build effective questioners.
3 An effective questioner needs to be able to identify the
relevant vocabulary (key words and phrases).
relevant vocabulary is like the nails that they can use to build highly
relevant questions. These two skills are complementary.
4 An effective questioner needs to be able to ask a range of
need to be able to ask relevant closed ‘yes’ and ‘no’ questions,
combining relevant contextual vocabulary with question words like
can, does, do, should, could, would, may etc.
need to be able to ask relevant closed and open questions, combining
relevant contextual vocabulary with question words like who, what
when, where, why, how, and which. (7 Servants: taken from Rudyard
Kipling’s poem………… )
need to be able to ask probing questions that provide a tight context
and probe deep into a person’s knowledge, beliefs or opinions.
5 An effective questioner needs to be able to identify and
utilise a range of relevant and appropriate sources and must be able to
apply judgement in identifying and choosing these sources. It is
ineffective to take good relevant questions to inappropriate or
6 An effective questioner needs to be able to edit their
questions, finding appropriate synonyms of key words when they run into
barriers and problems, as they seek the required information. For
instance if they have the question “How is an aboriginal humpy made?”
they may not gain the information they need till they edit the question
and replace ‘made’ with ‘constructed’ or further edit the
question to “What is the construction of an aboriginal humpy?”
7 An effective questioner also needs to have an attitude of
persistence. Extracting relevant needed information from multiple
sources is not an easy task and often requires persistence to see the
task to its conclusion.
above are the main skills that enable a person to construct and compose
effective questions. However it is important to realise that there is a
further set of skills involved. These skills come mainly from the realms
of Literacy and Information Literacy and include the ability to:
the information that a source can provide.
required information from the sources that contain it.
manage extracted information
Apply and use
that information to meet the initial need.
independent learner needs to be able to pose relevant effective
questions and this includes a number of skills. However the ability to
pose a good question doesn’t stand alone, a good questioner needs a
further range of skills to help locate and extract the answers to their
questions from the relevant sources, such as a range of search and
location skills, textual and visual comprehension skills, thinking and
analytical skills, and communication skills.
this I draw the following two definitions.
effective question is one that returns the required relevant
‘Effective Questioner’ is one who can:
identify an information need
pose a range of ‘relevant questions’
take them to a variety of appropriate sources
edit questions where necessary
persist until they locate the required information.