Theory of Questions and its Applications in the Social Sciences

  • Tadeusz Pawlowski
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 144)


Communication by questions and answers is a research procedure which is frequently used in the social sciences. Questions and answers are essential elements in any investigation by means of a questionnaire or an interview. However, if one wants the investigation to yield the optimum result, one has to consider many other related elements, namely: 1. the person who is to answer the question, 2. the person who is to ask the question, 3. the goal of the investigation, 4. the situation in which the investigation is made, which covers psychological, sociological, political, and other factors. It is only when all those elements are taken into account that a good interview or questionnaire can be worked out. Scientific theory concerned with the study of communication by questions might be termed general theory of questions. The logical theory of questions, the subject matter of which is confined to questions themselves is merely an indispensable part of the general theory. It is obvious that in such a general theory the knowledge gathered by many other disciplines, such as psychology, sociology, information theory, logic, methodology is assumed. As is known, such a general theory unfortunately does not exist. There are only fragments of one, scattered throughout books and papers in the form of analyses of examples of ill-formulated questions or mishandled interviews. Those fragments also include various practical recommendations. The logical theory of questions is the only part of the general theory that has been worked out in a systematic way.


Logical Consequence Logical Theory Closed Question Direct Answer True Alternative 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tadeusz Pawlowski
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of PhilosophyUniversity of LodzPoland

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