One question- why should we ask questions? Questions have always been ingrained in all of us from young. Granted, we always ask questions like – where are my clothes, why do I have to do the laundry etc. However, the questions I am talking about are those intended to gain an understanding of a certain topic. 

Gaining an understanding

Asking questions is one very useful way of digging deeper into a certain topic. In school, asking academically inclined questions tend to help students to not only enhance their understanding, but also to stay engaged with school materials. Studies have shown that very little knowledge is retained if one just simply listen to a person talk, especially if there are no emotions or emphasis displayed with relation to the topic at hand. Just think about the presentations or sermons you have been through and how after 5 minutes of listening to them, you do not recall much.

The habit of asking questions should be incorporated in children from an early age, to keep them curious and inquisitive. Such nature would serve them well not only in school but as a working adult. Asking the whys and hows would encourage the love for learning if they are provided with the right answers.

Types of Questions you can ask

Now that you know the benefits of asking questions, here are the types of questions that you as a student can ask to yourself or teachers to enhance your understanding of any subject matter!

1.     Knowledge

This is the most basic type of question. This requires you to identify and recall what you have learnt. Such questions can begin with “Who, what, when, where, how…?” or even “Describe…”. These questions that you ask will help you to remember what has just been taught.

2.     Comprehension

Similar to knowledge-based questions, comprehension-based questions helps to organize and select most important facts and ideas. Such questions begin with “Retell…” and “Summarize..”. This forces you to look at the topic broadly as a whole and to point out the main points- which is very helpful when revising for examinations as you know which parts of the chapter or topic you should focus more on.

3.     Application

Application-based questions are different from the above two. These questions make use of facts, rules and principles to help you to gain a deeper understanding of a certain topic. Such questions take these forms: “How is… an example of…?”, “How is… related to …?” and “Why is… significant?”. These questions help you to understand how what you are studying relates to the real world. It is also known that these types of questions are the kind that teachers pose to students in examinations.

4.     Analysis

Analysis-based questions allows you to see details of a certain topic by separating the topic into component parts. It can take these forms: “What are the parts or features of…”, “Classify… according to…”, “Outline/diagram…”, “How does… compare/contrast with…?” and “What evidence can you list for…?”. These questions help you to delve deeper into a certain topic by taking a closer look at its components.  

5.     Synthesis

Synthesis-based questions are more rigorous kind of questions whereby you combine ideas to form a new whole. These questions would take these forms: “What would you predict/infer from…?”, “What ideas can you add to…?”, “How would you create/design a new…?”, “What might happen if you combined…?” and “What solutions would you suggest for…?”. These questions help you to see the links between certain topics. This is especially useful if you study a subject matter as a whole as you will see how the seemingly different topics relate to one another.

6.     Evaluation

Evaluation-based questions are possibly the most rigorous kinds, where it needs you to be able to develop opinions, judgements or make decisions. These would take the form of “Do you agree…”, “What do you think about…?”, “What is the most important…?” and“What criteria would you use to assess…?”. Such questions enables you to develop a relationship with the topic at hand which would in turn, lead you to want to be able to have a deeper understanding of it.

Now that you know the value of asking questions and how to go about doing so, start asking away!