One of the most popular types of general and survey study is exploratory study. It aims to investigate an occurrence, issue, or phenomenon that isn’t well defined. An exploratory is a preliminary form of research. And it precedes descriptive research. Therefore, every researcher needs to incorporate it into their research campaigns. Conducting it will help you understand the problem clearly before digging further or attempting to fix it. In this article, we are going to discuss what exploratory is, how to conduct it and how it differs from other types of research.
Definition of exploratory research
Exploratory is an initial study form that is focused on a theoretical or hypothetical idea that hasn’t been fully developed and proven. The study begins with an idea about something in the researcher’s area of study. The researcher will study to have a clear understanding of the area. And other issues surrounding it. The issues that they discover will be carried over to the next study campaigns such as descriptive to name a few.
Exploratory seeks to investigate a problem that hasn’t been well-defined. It will help the researcher to have a clear understanding of the problem. However, it doesn’t provide conclusive results. Also known as interpretive research or grounded theory approach, it helps the researcher answer questions such as why, how, and what.
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As a college student, you need to read exploratory essay example before you start working on your assignment. Having a sample exploratory essay will go a long way in helping you get good grades.
The main aspects of exploratory research
Now that you know the meaning and purpose of exploratory, it’s important to understand its key aspects. This form of research has several important qualities that you need to consider to better understand its characteristics. Some of the key features include:
- The initial form of study on a particular field of study
- Lays the foundation for future study
- Investigates issues that haven’t been well defined
- Gathers information to be explored in depth
- Exists via a new topic or angle
- Helps researchers to answer important questions such as: What is the underlying problem? What is the purpose of this study? Which areas should I focus on?
- Incorporates unstructured studies
- Involves coming up with new theories that support findings to allow the researcher to go through them
- Produces quantitative study that is normally used to generalize large samples in specific cases such as quantitative surveys and the use of experiments.
How is exploratory different from other types of research?
Exploratory study is different from other major types of study such as experimental and correlational research. While it’s usually conducted together with descriptive, the two are not similar because they have differing qualities. It provides a foundation or a discovery about a problem that the researcher is facing. Therefore, it is the first form of study conducted on an unknown or unstudied topic.
On the other hand, descriptive study is focused on describing something that has been discovered or established.
Therefore, descriptive follows exploratory in the research process. It describes the functions, characteristics, frequencies, occurrences, and other important facts. Descriptive is conclusive, unlike exploratory. It is structured and rigid while exploratory is unstructured and flexible.
Correlational study is different from exploratory study in that it happens in the later stages while exploratory happens in the early phase. It processes facts that descriptive and exploratory has discovered. Its main function is to uncover relationships between variables to discover how one may affect others. The results can be used to make predictions about future events from current insights.
Experimental study is different from exploratory because it’s among the latter research forms. It is less observational and highly experimental. It largely involves manipulating variables to come to a finding or conclusion.
How to conduct exploratory research
Since this type of study is unstructured, there are no hard or fast rules on how to conduct it as long as the key aspects are included. You need to read exploratory research example in college or get help from your teacher, fellow student or read university classes lessons to discover the process. Here is a universal approach to conducting this form of study:
- Identify the existing problem by conducting a basic survey or brainstorming
- Come up with a hypothesis based on the results obtained from the previous step
- Conduct further research to discover if there are truths to existing problems through interviews, surveys, and focused groups to name a few.
To conduct exploratory well, you need to use several sources such as case studies, secondary sources and surveys, and literature in your niche to obtain valuable information. If this is too hard for you, don’t be afraid to seek help from the experts in school education.