Chapter 05: Socratic Questioning

Socratic Questioning

Socratic questioning provides unique opportunities for critical thinking and focused reflection. Socratic questioning is named after the Greek philosopher Socrates (469 BC-399 BC). Socratic-disciplined questioning focuses on solving problems. Ghost hunters must learn the discipline of Socratic questioning to work through complex issues and to understand the thinking patterns of others. By asking and answering these questions, ghost hunters focus their attention on the results of a ghost hunt.

There are six categories of Socratic questions. These are not all of the questions that can be asked but a series of fundamental starting points.

Category 1: Questions of Clarification


  • What do we mean by that statement?
  • What do we think is the main issue?
  • Can we provide an example?
  • Can we describe or explain that statement further?
  • Why do we support that view?


Category 2: Questions that Probe Assumptions


  • What are we assuming?
  • What could we have assumed instead?
  • Is this always the case?
  • Do we understand this correctly?
  • How can we verify or disprove that assumption?


Category 3: Questions that Probe Reasons and Evidence


  • Do we have evidence to support the conclusion?
  • How do we know the collected evidence is correct?
  • What other information is needed?
  • Is there reason to doubt the evidence?
  • What do we think caused this to happen and why?
  • What evidence would cause us to change our mind?
  • What reasoning brought us to this conclusion?
  • What would we say to someone who said there is no evidence to support the conclusion?


Category 4: Questions about Viewpoints and Perspectives


  • What is another way to look at this issue?
  • What would someone who disagrees with the finding say?
  • What is the alternative to this approach?
  • Does this viewpoint seem reasonable?
  • Who benefits from this perspective?
  • What are the counter arguments?


Category 5: Questions that Probe Implications and Consequences


  • What are the consequences of that assumption?
  • What effect would that have on the results?
  • What are we implying by that statement?
  • How does this tie into what we already know?
  • What else could have happened as a result?


Category 6: Questions about the Questions


  • How can we find out if that statement is true?
  • How could someone settle this question?
  • Why is this question important?
  • Why do you think I asked this question?
  • Is the question clear? Do we understand it?
  • Is this question hard or easy to answer and why?
  • Can the question be worded differently?
  • Can the question be broken down?

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