Is ‘How Was Your Day?’ an Open Ended Question? | Exploring Communication Techniques

The art of effective communication is a skill that’s been developed and refined over centuries. From ancient philosophers to modern-day interpersonal experts, the importance of asking the right questions has been emphasized time and again. One such question that’s commonly used in daily conversation is “How was your day?”. While this question may seem harmless and straightforward, it’s actually an example of an open-ended question, which can elicit a range of responses depending on the person being asked and their individual circumstances. Despite this, it still leaves a certain amount of ambiguity, and can be answered with a simple “good” or “bad.”

What Is an Example of Open-Ended Questions for Students?

However, incorporating open-ended questions into your teaching can be an effective way to boost student engagement and foster critical thinking skills.

One example of an open-ended question for students can be: “What’re your thoughts on [a particular topic or concept]?”. This question allows students to share their perspectives and opinions, which can lead to insightful discussions and encourage independent thinking. By asking for their thoughts, students are given the opportunity to articulate their ideas and develop their communication skills.

This type of question encourages students to use their problem-solving skills and empowers them to take ownership of their learning. By asking for their approach, students are given the chance to come up with their own ideas and practice critical thinking.

For example, a teacher might ask, “What did you learn from this activity?” or “What challenges did you encounter and how did you overcome them?”. These questions help students to identify their own strengths and weaknesses, and to develop self-awareness and metacognitive skills.

Open-ended questions can also be a powerful tool for promoting creativity and innovation. For instance, a teacher might ask, “What’re some possible ways that [a particular problem or scenario] could be approached?”. This type of question encourages students to think outside the box and come up with novel solutions. By fostering creativity and innovation, teachers can help students to develop the skills they need to thrive in an ever-changing world.

How to Use Open-Ended Questions to Encourage Peer-to-Peer Communication and Collaboration Among Students?

  • What ideas do you’ve about…
  • Can you explain…
  • How might we…
  • What’re some examples of…
  • What do you think about…
  • What would happen if…
  • What’s your opinion on…
  • How could we improve…
  • What’re some possible solutions to…
  • Can you compare and contrast…

Now that we understand the difference between open-ended and closed-ended questions, let’s explore why open-ended questions are essential in many aspects of life, including personal relationships, business, and education.

What Means Open and Ended Questions?

Open-ended questions are often used in qualitative research and interviews, as they allow respondents to provide detailed and personalized answers that can help to reveal deeper insights. These types of questions also encourage dialogue and can help to build rapport between the interviewer and respondent, as they require active listening and engagement. In contrast, closed-ended questions are useful for obtaining specific information or conducting surveys, as they’re easy to administer and analyze. However, they may not provide as much depth or context as open-ended questions.

By allowing the respondent to explore their thoughts and feelings, these types of questions can facilitate self-reflection and insight. They can help to encourage critical thinking and creative problem-solving, as well as foster empathy and understanding.

When crafting open-ended questions, it’s important to consider the intended purpose and audience. Questions should be clear, concise, and relevant to the topic at hand. Examples of open-ended questions include: “Can you tell me more about your experience?”. “What’re your thoughts on this issue?”. “How do you feel about this situation?”. Open-ended questions can also be used in conjunction with closed-ended questions, to provide a more comprehensive view of a topic.

They allow for free-form answers and encourage dialogue, self-reflection, and understanding. Nevertheless, open-ended questioning should be a primary tool for exploration into the thoughts and opinions of a respondent. Companies, researchers, and individuals can use this technique to get to know their audience on an individual and much deeper level.

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Using Open-Ended and Closed-Ended Questions in Different Scenarios.

Open-ended questions provide more detailed and personalized responses from participants. Closed-ended questions allow for easier data analysis and comparison between responses. Choosing between the two depends on the research goals and the type of information needed.

Asking someone how their day was may seem like a simple question, but according to research by The Science of People, it may not be the most effective way to connect with your partner. Instead of turning the question into a logistical check-in, it’s important to take the opportunity to learn more about their experiences and understand how they’re growing and changing. In the following paragraphs, we’ll explore the reasons why you should avoid asking this question and what you can do instead to foster a deeper connection with your partner.

Is How Was Your Day Good Question?

Many people have grown accustomed to asking their loved ones how their day was, hoping to show interest and care. However, this seemingly innocuous question may actually have negative consequences. The Science of People highlights that asking “how was your day?” as a frequently asked question may actually lead to surface-level answers, devoid of depth or emotional substance. As a result, you may miss out on valuable insights into your loved ones personal growth.

Imagine that you ask your spouse about their day every night when they arrive home from work. Over time, your spouse may come to expect this question and give the same answer every time. In such cases, the question becomes more of a habit and less of a meaningful inquiry. The Science of People advises that instead of asking routine questions, we should focus on open-ended questions that promote self-reflection and emotional inquiry.

Consider the generic answer to this question: “It was fine.”. This response tells you nothing about your spouses emotional state, their struggles at work, or their accomplishments. The Science of People suggests that we should ask specific questions that prompt storytelling and provide context. Ask your partner about a particular work project, a challenging conversation they had, or a moment where they felt accomplished. Such questions can help your loved one share vivid details about their experiences and how it made them feel.

By asking open-ended and specific questions, you can foster deeper conversations and greater emotional intimacy with your loved ones. The Science of People also notes that engaging in such conversations leads to better communication overall in your relationships. Rather than casually asking “how was your day?” and moving on to other topics, take the time to listen actively and with intent. Allow your loved one to share their experiences and emotions without interruption.

Overall, it’s important to recognize that the way we ask questions and initiate conversations can have a significant impact on the quality of our relationships. Instead, choose to ask more meaningful and specific questions that promote self-reflection, storytelling, and emotional intimacy. By doing so, you can cultivate stronger connections with those closest to you.

Now that we’ve a basic understanding of closed-ended questions, let’s delve into their advantages and disadvantages as a research tool.

What Are Closed-Ended Questions?

Defines closed-ended questions as a type of question that seeks to confirm facts or elicit specific information. Closed-ended questions have a structured format that restricts participants responses to a predetermined set of options. Such questions are often used to gather quantitative data using surveys or questionnaires, and they’re suitable when looking for specific answers.

They’re an excellent way to gather specific data and information from research participants and can be useful in quantifying data which can be easily analyzed. By giving participants limited options, closed-ended questions require them to give concise responses that provide precise information about the topic under study.

One of the significant advantages of closed-ended questions is that they offer uniformity and standardization in data gathering. Researchers can use the same set of questions for various participants to achieve consistency in responses, making it easier to compare and analyze data. Closed-ended questions are also less biased than open-ended questions because they provide the same response options to all participants.


In conclusion, while "How was your day?" is technically an open-ended question, it's important to acknowledge that it can still result in a closed response. Rather than focusing solely on the phrasing of the question, it's crucial to consider the context and the intent behind the inquiry. Additionally, it's always valuable to prompt deeper thought and conversation with friends, family, and colleagues by asking more expansive and thought-provoking questions. By doing so, we can gain a greater understanding of each other's experiences, feelings, and perspectives, and foster stronger connections in our personal and professional relationships.