An open-ended research question is a type of question that does not have an obvious answer and cannot be answered by a single fact or figure. It may sometimes take the form of a comparison, cause /effect, or problem/ solution.
For example, the question, "Does Starbucks ban employees from wearing tattoos?" is NOT open-ended. The answer is either yes, or it is no. There is no room for further study of the question.
On the other hand, the question, "How do attitudes about tattoos compare between Starbucks and other area employers?" is open-ended. This particular example takes the form of a comparison. The answer is not obvious, so research must be done to find examples of tattoo policies among area employers. There is much information to be found on this topic.
In the activity on the following page, help Val determine which questions are open-ended.
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