Do you like the program? Has returning to school been difficult?
Leading questions should also be avoided. Leading questions reveal a bias or an assumption that the researcher is making, which may not be held by the participant. These set the respondent up to accept the researcher’s point of view. The question, “What emotional problems have you had since losing your job?” reflects an assumption that anyone losing a job will have emotional problems.
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All researchers warn against asking yes-or-no questions. Any question that can be answered with a simple yes or no may in fact be answered just that way. Yes-or-no responses give you almost no information. For the reluctant, shy, or less verbal respondent, they offer an easy way out; they can also shut down or at least slow the flow of information from the interviewee. In the JTPA example, questions phrased in a yes-or- no manner, although at their core they are seeking good information, can yield nothing. Thus asking, “Do you like the program?” may be answered yes or no; rephrasing it to, “What do you like about the program?” necessitates more of a response. The same is true of the question “Has returning to school been difficult?” Asking, “How have you found the experience of returning to school?” mandates a fuller response.