Listening Post Collective MENU
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Craft Questions

Make sure you set aside some quality time to focus on what you really want to know from the community you’re engaging. Your goal is to make questions simple, inclusive, and relevant to the experience of residents. Here’s a  guide to crafting great questions (PDF ↓).

Tactics

  • Pick an issue that was mentioned frequently in the information needs survey and initial listening process.
  • News peg. Research any current conversations or happenings related to this topic; a city council debate, a forum, a new law, an effort by a local non-profit, a recent report or release of data that pertains to the topic, either nationally, or locally.
  • Develop 2-3 questions for each topic that will get people sharing their own experience and anecdotes. Start simple with a question anyone can answer, and work your way towards something a little more in depth. See examples here.
  • Make it personal. Get responders to share personal anecdotes and speak from experience. Not, “What do you think?” as much as, “What did you experience? The goal is to get participants sharing personal examples, representing what they witness in their own lives.

Examples

Planting Questions in New Orleans

In Action

Violence series pt 4 gb

Macon

A Listening Post project in Macon, Georgia wanted to find a way to make the national debate around gun control and gun violence feel local and tangible. Conversations around gun control online often devolve into emotionally driven arguments between folks at extreme ends of the spectrum. To contrast these conversations, they used Listening Post strategies to ask residents to share their experiences rather than their opinions. They did this by asking simple and straightforward questions (Do you or someone in your family own a gun? What have you experienced that has shaped your opinion towards guns?). By approaching the questions in this way the project in Macon was able to gather deeply personal stories about fears and hopes around gun ownership and violence and received nuanced and varied answers. They heard from hunters who’d grown up with a deep reverence for guns and mothers who’d lost children to gun violence. Regardless of experience or opinion, responses were well thought out and respectful.



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