Questions in a Research Setting


  • Jane My Due Tram
  • Connie K. Varnhagen



Because closed-ended (multiple-choice) questioning formats are often used in educational research, it is important to understand how presenting response options can affect the data obtained. In this study children and adults answered questions in an open-ended condition or one of two closed-ended conditions where options were either likely or unlikely. Participants who were presented with unlikely response options generated their own responses more often than participants who were presented with likely response options. On the other hand, children were more likely than adults to choose the presented response options regardless of how unlikely they were. These findings have important research implications; response options for closed-ended data collection devices must be selected carefully to reflect real-world possibilities.