What are open-ended questions?
To put it as simply as possible, open-ended questions are questions that require more than a short, fixed response. Open-ended questions try to avoid answers like “Yes.”, “No.”, “The Battle of Midway.”, or “Onions.”
Open-ended questions attempt to make the person who is answering the question give a more detailed and elaborate response.
While almost any question can be answered in a few words, if you try hard enough, a good open-ended question tries to get around this.
The opposite of open-ended questions are closed-ended questions. Check out our page on closed-ended questions for more information and examples.
But now, let’s look at some open-ended question examples.
Open-ended question examples
What were some of the longest-lasting consequences of the Great Depression on US society?
What do you like most and least about your parents’ cooking?
Why are humans creative?
As you can see, even though you could give a short answer to any of these questions, it would be more natural to give a longer response.
Open-ended questions list
1. Why do you like the bands/performers that you like?
2. What was your worst travel experience?
3. What was the most important chance encounter you’ve had?
4. What is the process for making your favorite dish?
5. What is a good life?
6. How did going to school shape you as a person?
7. How important do you think self-improvement is?
8. What will the future of war look like?
9. What strategies do you use to make big decisions?
10. What are some of your plans for the future?
11. How would you explain the idea of justice to an alien?
12. Why does happiness come easily to some but not others?
13. What policies could the government implement to improve people’s health?
14. What was the scariest dream you’ve had?
15. What life hacks have you found to be particularly effective?
16. If you could design a reality TV show, what would it be like?
17. What combinations of flavors do you like, and why do they taste so good?
18. Why do people laugh?
19. How have standards of beauty changed in your lifetime?
20. What is your best work or school story?
21. What is the most calming image you can conjure up in your mind?
22. Why do some words sound funny to us?
23. What are the best and worst things about your favorite restaurant?
24. How would your country change if children were allowed to vote?
25. What experiments would you like to run if time and money weren’t an issue?
26. How would the world change if some people could use magic spells, and some people could not?
27. How could your boss/teacher do their job better?
28. Why is it so hard to learn from our mistakes?
29. What is the reasoning behind your most controversial opinion?
30. How do you usually celebrate some of the major holidays?
31. What valuable lessons should we learn from history?
32. How has photography changed the world?
33. How do your values differ from others?
34. Why do humans build monumental structures?
35. How do you wish your country would change?
36. What completely baseless conspiracy would you like to start?
37. How would you tweak the Olympics to make them even more enjoyable?
38. How did the most pivotal moments of your childhood change you?
39. What social situations do you dread?
40. How has coffee shaped the course of human history?
41. What is your routine for an average weekday?
42. What does the media do well, and what do they do poorly in their service to the public?
43. What happened in the funniest YouTube video you’ve seen?
44. Why do some people prefer cats, some prefer dogs, and some dislike both?
45. What’s the story behind how you met your best friend?
46. When does scientific research become unethical?
47. What would happen during the best day imaginable?
48. What makes a song catchy?
49. What’s the worst work mistake you’ve made?
50. What would your perfect house look like?
51. What questions can you ask to learn the most about a person?
52. Why do people like watching movies that scare them or make them sad?
53. What makes your favorite place you’ve been better than all the other places you’ve been to?
54. What would your utopia look like?
55. How would you prepare for a zombie apocalypse?
56. How do you think genetic engineering will change the world in the future?
57. What is the plot of your favorite movie or book?
58. How should governments fix widening income gaps in countries that have them?
59. Why are games fun?
60. When was a time that politeness or good manners have gotten you into trouble?
61. What would your perfect vacation be like?
62. How would society change if we discovered that ghosts actually exist?
63. What is art?
64. What would be the effects of the internet shutting down?
65. How did you come to like some of the hobbies you enjoy?
66. What is your favorite memory related to a holiday?
67. What makes you look up to your heroes?
68. What would your ideal partner be like?
69. How would the world change if suddenly everyone could read each other’s thoughts?
70. What’s the weirdest internet rabbit hole you’ve been down?
71. What are the conditions for something to be considered alive?
72. How does a car engine work?
73. In what ways do you think the current generation is different from your generation?
74. Given unlimited resources, how would you go about making the world a better place?
75. What would be in a playground made for adults?
76. What is your “happy place” like?
77. What would be the most significant advantages and disadvantages of humans colonizing a different planet?
78. Why are humans so driven to find answers to mysteries?
79. What’s the funniest criminal misadventure story you’ve heard?
80. If you had $200,000 to spend on a party, how would you spend the money?
81. How will phones change in the future?
82. If you had enough money to never work, what your typical day look like?
83. How could humanity go about colonizing other planets?
84. What do you think TV shows in 30 years will be like?
85. What would a car specially designed for you look and be like?
86. What makes you who you are?
87. What is the funniest true story you’ve heard?
88. How would you handle integrating someone who had been frozen for 100 years into society?
89. Why do you think that humans find other animals’ babies cute?
90. How did your country’s most significant historical moments change the fabric of society?
91. In what ways do you sabotage yourself?
92. How could your local government improve your town or city?
93. Why do conspiracy theories appeal to so many people?
94. What makes you like or dislike a person?
95. What are some of the limitations of capitalism?
96. What would the best amusement park in the world look like?
97. What are some of society’s unwritten rules?
98. How does your body and mind react to stress?
99. What are your top 3 rules for navigating life?
100. How does your favorite memory play out?