Whether you are interviewing someone for an article or a character for your novel, you should vary your questioning styles to gain the most valuable information. Here are four of the best type of questions to prepare.
1. Closed - These can be answered with a one or two word response, usually "yes, or "no". Generally, it is better to avoid these unless you want a precise response that you have not received using other methods. Ex: "Do you feel he is the best candidate for the position?"
2. Open - Requires a more elaborate response, giving the interviewer more details. Most closed questions can be transformed into open by adding "Why" or "How" to the beginning. Ex: "Why do you feel he is the best candidate for the position?" You can also gain more expansive information if you lead with an encouraging statement, such as "Can you explain...", "Describe...", or "Tell me the story of..."
3. Rephrasing - If you are unhappy with a response, try rephrasing or repeating to gain more information. Politicians are used to this media tactic, and will continue to evade the same question repeated several different ways. But it's a useful strategy to employ with other contacts when they have avoided the question or you would like a more detailed response.
4. Loaded or Leading - You want to avoid these type of questions at first. If you begin a question by providing the answer in the beginning, some subject will close down as they will feel you are telling them what to think. Ex: "Don't you feel he is ill qualified to be a candidate?" However, if an interview is going nowhere fast, these questions are a good way to inspire emotional responses, and answers. Ex. "Would you agree that...", or "Is it fair/accurate to say that..."