How to Ask Powerful Questions [Webinar]

Published: July 2019

Type: Presentation

The kinds of questions we often pose — Did the intervention work? What are we learning about a particular issue? — may lead to information that is a useful input into learning, but they often don’t help us determine what to do next. This habit results in questions that, if answered, will make a difference in how we do our work.

Tanya Profile

Many foundations and evaluators develop learning agendas or learning questions that are designed to help strategists focus in on what they need to take away from data, evaluation findings, and other information inputs.  But we routinely hear that learning agendas fall flat or fail to stay alive, quickly becoming disconnected from the real dilemmas program strategists struggle with.

We suspect one problem may be that learning agendas tend to focus on retrospective “study” questions that make sense for evaluators, rather than on galvanizing, future-facing, action-oriented questions that have the potential to unlock the work from the program strategists’ perspective.

In this webinar, Tanya Beer tackles the challenge of asking powerful questions as a critical habit for effective learning–not just in learning agendas, but also in the day-to-day interactions of staff. (Read more about the other essential learning habits here.) Offering an alternative to traditional laundry lists of evaluator-oriented questions that we routinely see in learning agendas, she shares insights about what makes a powerful question that engages program strategists and connects directly to their arena of action. The webinar also covers how evaluation and learning staff–or external evaluators–can use strategy-focused questions to guide their evaluation or data collection work.

The webinar occurs in three parts:

  1. What is a powerful question? (04:09)
  2. Powerful Questions and Learning Agendas (28:16)- Includes a Sample Learning Framework
  3. Building the habit of asking powerful questions (41:25)

Access the webinar on our YouTube page.



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