Academic Resource Center

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Questioning

Questioning is a key component of active reading and learning. Asking the right questions can be as important as knowing the right answers. In the short run, questioning improves concentration and comprehension. In the long run, it improves long-term recall of information and is an excellent way to prepare for class discussions, papers, and exams. See the examples below if you’re not sure where to start.

“Orientation Questions”

  • What’s the definition of ___? What is ___ related to?
  • What’s an example of ___? What can ___ be compared with?
  • What are the different types of ___?

“Journalist Questions”

  • Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?

Questions based on Bloom’s Taxonomy

  • Knowledge
    Where did . . .?
    How many . . .?
    Identify . . .
  • Comprehension
    Describe . . .
    Illustrate . . .
    Summarize . . .
  • Application
    Explain . . .
    Chart . . .
    What if . . .?
  • Analysis
    Outline . . .
    Compare/contrast . . .
    Simplify . . .
  • Synthesis
    Design . . .
    Write an alternate ending to . . .
    Develop a plan for . . .
  • Evaluation
    What did you like about . . .?
    What would you recommend . . .?
    Select the most important . . .

Adapted from What Smart Students Know, Adam Robinson. New York: Three Rivers Press, 1993, and The Cooperative Classroom, Lynda A. Baloche. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1998.