What are leading questions and are they “bad”?

What Are Leading Questions?

Leading Questions – Sometimes Bad, Sometimes Good

If you watch courtroom dramas, or read courtroom thrillers, you are probably familiar with the term “leading question”. A leading question “leads”, or pushes the person being asked in a very specific direction. They can a) provide hints as to what the asker wants in a reply, or b) pressure the person into responding in the way the asker wants.

For this reason, the answer one gets to a leading question may not be accurate, particularly if the person answering wants to please the person asking. They also tend to be perceived as attacking or manipulative, where the asker is seen as pursuing his or her own agenda through sneaky questioning. The latter is particularly true if a series of leading questions are used.

There is one situation where leading questions may be used effectively. If you are talking to someone who is having trouble understanding what you need, and you have tried less directive questioning techniques to get what you need, leading questions may help the person understand where you are going.

They are highly directive, so in situations where you need specific factual information, and are not receiving it, they may fit.

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