Asking Questions: Six Types

The following is information is taken from Asking Questions: Six Types. Centre for Teaching Excellence, University of Waterloo. The information has a Creative Commons license that lets others remix, tweak, and build upon our work non-commercially, as long as they credit us and indicate if changes were made.

Both asking and answering questions are important parts of effective learning and teaching. The types of questions you ask should capture the students’ attention, arouse their curiosity, reinforce key points, and encourage active learning. Here is a list of question types based on Benjamin Bloom’s six cognitive levels:


(identification and recall of information):

  • “Who, what, when, where, how …?”
  • “Describe …”


(organization and selection of facts and ideas):

  • “Retell …”
  • “Summarize …”


(use of facts, rules and principles):

  • “How is … an example of …?”
  • “How is … related to …?”
  • “Why is … significant?”


(separation of a whole into component parts):

  • “What are the parts or features of …?”
  • “Classify … according to …”
  • “Outline/diagram …”
  • “How does … compare/contrast with …?”


(combination of ideas to form a new whole):

  • “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 …?”
  • “What solutions would you suggest for …?”


(development of opinions, judgments, or decisions):

  • “Do you agree …?”
  • “What do you think about …?”
  • “What is the most important …?”
  • “Place the following in order of priority …”
  • “How would you decide about …?”
  • “What criteria would you use to assess …?”

The featured image is from “You Only Get Answers To The Questions You Ask”. 2022.

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