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Methodology For Crafting Effective Questions

Updated: Sep 12, 2021

This methodology will help you craft the questions you need to ask while analyzing the data.

As we know, asking the right questions is one of the most important skills that a data analyst should have. Because every data analysis task starts with asking effective questions about the problem we are trying to solve. In other words, we want to understand the problem that stakeholders want us to solve.

Asking effective questions can help you make sure that you are on the same page about the plan and the project's goal. The more effective questions you ask, the better you will get insights into the data.

Let me give you an example. Suppose you are having dinner with your family, and one of your brothers says, "This is the best butter chicken ever. This question does not give you enough opportunity to share your opinion about the butter chicken because it is a leading question and can go in a certain direction. Or someone asks you, do you like this butter chicken? You will only reply either 'yes' or 'no.' The person who asked this question can't learn about much of the experience you are having. It is because this question is closed-ended.

These questions can be dangerous in terms of gaining insights because they can lead us in a totally different direction.

One of the best methods to follow for crafting effective questions is the SMART methodology. It stands for:

  1. S - Specific

  2. M - Measurable

  3. A - Action-oriented

  4. R - Relevant

  5. T - Time-bound

Let see what these methods are:


This means SMART questions should be specific and relevant about the topic. For example, are people eating healthy these days? This question is closed-ended. Instead, we should ask, "what percentage of people are having a healthy diet these days?" The goal here is to narrow down the question. In this way, we will be able to investigate our data more effectively.


SMART questions are measurable—measurable means which can be quantified and measured. For example, instead of asking why did our blog post go viral? We can ask how many times it was getting shared within the first week?


You should always ask action-oriented questions. Action-oriented means they bring change. It is about asking questions that can help you get to the future state you want to attain with your analysis.


Your questions should be relevant to your business problem. For example, asking about the females will not help you when you analyze the data of males.


You should always ask questions that are time-bounded. It means a question for a specific period of time.

This methodology will help you in the long run. Keep practicing crafting effective questions. Asking effective questions can make our analysis more reliable and credible.


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