Often open questions require 'investigations' in return. An investigation is the encouragement of the interviewer to develop a discussion or continue the discussion. The interviewer might say, "Is there anything else?" Or "Can you explain that?" Sensors help clarify participants' interests, attitudes, and feelings. Today's computers play an important role in data acquisition – analyzing and recording open-ended investigations.
Open questions offer many advantages to the researcher. It enables participants to give their general reactions to questions such as: (1) What are the advantages, if any, do you think that ordering from a catalog company orders by mail compared to local retail outlets? (Check: what?) (2) Why do you have one or more of your carpets or rugs professionally cleaned instead of cleaning them yourself or someone else in the house cleaning them? (3) What is the color of the product that makes you like the best? (Check in: What color is that?) (4) Why do you say the brand is better?
Note that in questions 2 and 4, the open question is part of a skipping pattern. In question 2, for example, respondents have already indicated that they use a professional carpet cleaning service and do not rely on family members.
Another advantage of open responses is that it can provide the researcher with a rich set of data. Respondents respond from their reference framework. The advantages are described in 'real world' terms instead of marketing terms or terms. This is often useful for designing promotion topics and campaigns. It enables text authors to use consumers' language. This rich set of data can now be captured even in computer-assisted interviews, simplifying the data acquisition process.
An open data inspection can serve as a means of interpreting closed questions. This analysis often sheds additional light on the drivers or attitudes behind closed response patterns. It is well known that color ranks second in importance from five product attributes. But it might be better to know why color is so important. For example, a study of mobile home gardeners may reveal a great deal of dissatisfaction with the garbage pickup service. However, further inspection of the answers to an open-ended questionnaire may reveal that the cause of dissatisfaction may have been caused by navigating dogs roaming the litter containers and not doing bad work by the litter pickup service.
Likewise, open questions may indicate alternatives not included in the closed data acquisition questionnaire. For example, a previously unrecognized issue related to garbage pickup may be discovered from an open-ended questionnaire to obtain data. Open questions are not without their problems. One factor is the time consuming editing and coding process that consumes money.
Editing open responses requires editing of many response alternatives in a reasonable number. If many categories are used, it may be difficult for the researcher to interpret data patterns and response frequencies. If the categories are very broad, the data is very general and important meanings may be lost. The process of obtaining open question data can also be influenced by bias in the interview. Although training courses consistently emphasize the importance of literal registration of an open question, it is often not practiced in this area. Open-ended questions can also be biased toward the person being interviewed. Anyone with detailed opinions and the ability to express it may have much greater inputs than a shy, unfair or withdrawn respondent. However, both can have an equal probability of the product.