Learning to Ask the Right Questions

Slide2Researching with readers is more challenging than studying for classes because the correct answers are no longer written down on the page for readers to read. You are the brain responsible for analyzing information, and you depend on your readers to receive that information. When they have no idea what they are looking at, you need to learn how to ask them the right questions to get the information you need.

I start by asking my reader simply to describe to the best of their abilities what they see, beginning with the big picture. Based on their answer, I hone in on details with more specific questions. Then, I develop hypotheses in my mind about what might have occurred in the experiment, and use that as a starting point to ask precise questions that could supply information that would confirm, deny, or redirect my hypothesis.

The process of analyzing results through another person’s eyes is a challenging activity, to be sure. The only way to get better is with time. You will learn from your experiences as you go along.

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