These probing questions are perfect to use if you want to get to the heart of the matter, whether personal or professional.
Often we need to delve further into a situation to further understand what’s going on, that’s where these clarifying questions come in.
They can help you and whoever you’re talking to get into the nitty-gritty of a matter and find solutions or just better understand where you’re both coming from.
Whether you’re a teacher, professional or just a parent, using the below probing techniques will help you get to the bottom of issues and clarify any concerns you may have.
What Is a Probing Question?
A probing question is one that asks for more detail regarding a particular subject. They are often questions that follow up on an initial statement, such as ‘Could you explain what you mean?’ and ‘How did that make you feel?’
They’re designed to help clarify the intent of the person speaking and get to the root cause of the issue.
Probing Questions Examples
Here are a few examples of probing questions to give you an idea of what they look like:
- Could you tell me more?
- Do you have anything further to add?
- What sort of impact do you think this will have?
Best Probing Questions List
1. Could you elaborate on that further?
2. Do you have anything further to add?
3. What should you ask yourself to further your understanding?
4. Is there anything else I can help you with?
5. Can you tell me more about the problem you’re facing?
6. What’s the best way I can help you with this?
7. What’s the connection between _____________ and _________________?
8. What’s the biggest issue you face with this challenge?
9. What are you doing at the moment?
10. What are the main outcomes you want from this?
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11. Can you be more specific about the issue you’re facing?
12. How long have you been thinking about this?
13. Have you felt this way for a while or is it something new?
14. What sort of impact do you think this will have?
15. How severe is the problem?
16. What solutions have you come up with so far?
17. How do you unwind from work?
18. What alternatives have you considered?
19. Have I covered everything?
20. What’s your strategy to fix the problem?
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21. Could you describe what happened in more detail?
22. Why does this make you angry?
23. When do you think this will be ready?
24. Is this what you said…?
25. Did I hear you say…?
26. What’s another way you might…?
27. How did you decide…?
28. Is there any way I can support you?
29. Why do you think this is the case?
30. Did I hear you correctly when you said…?
31. What resources did you use for this project?
Next: Hypothetical questions
32. How did you determine…?
33. How did you conclude…?
34. Did I paraphrase what you said correctly?
35. What sort of impact do you think…?
36. What do you think would happen if…?
37. When did this situation begin?
38. Has this happened before?
39. Could you tell me how it looks/sounds?
40. What difficulties did you run into when you tried to _____________?
41. You mentioned ___________ could you tell me a little bit more about that, please?
42. What impact has this had on you ____________?
43. How long have you been thinking about this?
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44. How will this affect you?
45. Is this what you said?
46. When have you done something like this before?
47. What does this remind you of?
48. What’s your prediction about ___________?
49. How does _________ make you feel?
50. What’s your biggest fear regarding this?
51. What do you think is the best-case scenario?
52. What are the pros and cons of this situation?
53. What would we do if the opposite were true?
54. What do you think is at the root of the problem?
55. How did you come to this conclusion?
56. What does this remind you of?
Probing Questions For Teachers
57. How did you arrive at that answer?
Next: Unanswerable questions
58. Did you expect that outcome?
59. What would you do differently in the future?
60. What might be the reason for that?
61. Can you elaborate on that answer?
62. Can you explain why you disagree with this?
63. Can you give me an example to support your point?
64. Can you show me your working out?
65. Why do you think that might be?
66. What’s the evidence to support your claim?
67. How do these two things relate to each other?
68. What questions does this answer pose?
69. What would you do differently in the future?
70. What are the biggest lessons you’ve taken from this experience?
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71. Is there anything missing from your previous answer?
72. Is there anything you might have missed?
73. Do you think that’s the correct answer?
74. How would you explain that to a younger student?
75. That’s an interesting word you used there – can you explain why you chose it?
76. What would this mean for…?
77. How did your knowledge of the time period affect your answer?
78. Why do you think some people might disagree with your answer?
79. Can you go into more detail on this?
80. If this is true, what are the implications for…?
Probing Questions For Professionals
81. Are you someone who can be relied on?
82. How does __________ affect your role?
83. Will the issue affect employee morale?
84. Is the problem unique to your organization?
85. What attempts have you previously made to address the problem?
86. How does this problem affect your customers?
87. Who did you work with last time?
88. Do you feel you’re effective when you work with ________?
89. Does this affect other parts of the business?
90. If you were your competition, what would you do differently from what we’re doing?
91. What sense of urgency do you have regarding this issue?
92. Is there anything else I should know regarding __________?
93. What kind of timeframe are we looking at in regards to ____________?
94. What bothers you the most about this situation?
95. How is _________ affecting our organization?
96. Why do you think this issue has persisted for so long?
97. In what ways will ________ improve the business?
98. How do you critically evaluate your performance?
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99. What’s a business practice you’d like us to adopt?
100. Will _________ cause you to be more or less self-critical?
101. Does your competition have the same problems as you?
102. What are the intangible effects of the problem?
103. Will ________ affect our productivity?
104. Is this a problem that’s industry-wide?
105. How did these problems first originate?
106. What are the long-term effects of this problem?
107. What kind of pressure is _________ causing you and the business?
108. Which solutions to _________ are the most viable?
109. What kind of financial support do you have for the project?
110. Why do those options make the most sense?
111. In what ways would you improve the workplace?
112. How do you think you could improve your performance?
113. What do you feel are your main strengths when it comes to your job?
114. What adjustments would you make to improve the business?
115. What are the main goals you have for this business year?
116. What other problems are you facing besides this one?
117. How urgently do you need this resolved?
118. How has _________ affected the business?
119. How do you feel about moving forward with ________?
120. What’s the budget for finding a solution to your problem?
Looking For More Questions?
Existential questions – If you’re looking for questions that will stretch your mind, these are the ones for you.
Thought-provoking questions – Questions that will apply to your personal and professional life.
Philosophical questions – Ponder deep and thoughtful questions as well as some whimsical ones too!
Rapid fire questions – A quickfire set of talking points that will lead to lots of fun!
Tom is a travel writer and Co-Founder of Questions About Everything. He grew up in the UK and enjoys spending his time traveling to new places, supporting Liverpool FC, and blogging about his adventures. He spent two years teaching English in Barcelona and frequently utilized question games and conversation starters as part of his lesson plans. Learn more about Tom on our About page.