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Exploratory Research – Definition, Characteristics, Methods & Examples

  • 7 Jun
  • 2024

Research is a constant process that requires modification over time and is not exhaustive. Although many researchers are working on unique initiatives, most researchers expand upon or use preexisting theories or formulations. Using exploratory research, researchers may concentrate on an issue that has not been thoroughly investigated. Researchers can set goals, conceptualise definitions, and enhance the final research design. This article will tell you everything you need to know about exploratory research.

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What is Exploratory Research?

What is Exploratory Research

Exploratory research means an approach to addressing an issue that is not yet well understood. It is carried out to gain a deeper comprehension of the current issue, but it will not produce definitive findings. When doing such a study, the researcher begins with a broad concept and uses the research as a tool to pinpoint potential research topics. The researcher must remain open to altering the course of action in response to discovering fresh information or insight. Such research is typically conducted when the issue is still in its early stages. Since it addresses issues like what, why, and how, it is frequently referred to as the grounded theory approach or interpretive research. Exploratory research frequently has a qualitative focus. Although, a study with a sizable sample size that is exploratory might also be quantitative.

When Should You Use Exploratory Research?

Exploratory research is frequently performed when a problem needs to be investigated for the first time or when gathering data is difficult for any other reason. If you wish to investigate a broad concept or a particular subject, but there is no prior information or framework with which to do so, you can employ this type of research.

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What Are The Characteristics of Exploratory Research?

  • Exploratory research is open-ended, low-cost, and involves lots of interaction.
  • Usually, no prior relevant data from earlier studies are accessible.
  • It does not have a set structure.
  • It answers how and why questions, assisting the researcher in learning more about the research.
  • The researcher will have to spend significant time carefully reading the documents because previous research has not provided any pertinent information.
  • There is no set procedure for conducting exploratory research. Hence it is typically fluid and dispersed.
  • There must be a few theories that can support your conclusion.
  • A conclusion cannot be drawn based solely on the exploratory investigation.
  • The research question ought to be significant and worthwhile.
  • Exploratory research mostly uses qualitative information.

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What Are The Different Methods Involved in Exploratory Research?

Exploratory research involves primary and secondary research methods, which are the following:

Primary Research Methods

Data is gathered directly from the target of the investigation in primary research methods. The target could be either a person or a group in this situation. The study’s primary goal must be achieved whether the researcher collects the data directly or indirectly through a service provider. This research aims to gather data regarding the issue that needs in-depth examination. Here are some of the primary research methods for exploratory investigation:

  1. Observations

The researcher does not interact closely with the subject during this primary research approach. The person is being observed distantly. There are two approaches to subject observation.

  • Direct Observation

During direct observations, the subjects know that someone is watching them, which happens with their consent.

  1. Indirect Observation

Indirect observations are preferred over direct observations because during direct observations, and the subjects are conscious of the fact that someone is watching them and become conscious of it. However, indirect observations raise some ethical and privacy concerns.

  1. Online Surveys

Surveys gather information from a group of people in a given population. It can be used to gather data and evaluate trends, viewpoints, and behavioural patterns among a population.

  1. Interviews

The interview strategy is preferable for gathering accurate and complete data, but it is more time-consuming and exhausting. Interviews may be held in person, over the phone, or by video call. The researcher can also record interviews in case they need to be reviewed later to corroborate certain details.

  1. Focus Groups

Researchers frequently employ focus groups when trying to gather information from a group of people with comparable traits.

Secondary Research Methods

Secondary research method employs available resources on the issue under examination. Researchers use existing sources, such as books, journals, dissertations, newspapers, etc., for exploratory study.

In publications, every source that was used must be cited. The following are some examples of secondary research techniques used in exploratory research:

  • Secondary Literature

When the researcher does not have enough time to gather information on an issue through primary research methods, evaluation of secondary literature is helpful. Researchers can access publications and available literature on the Internet and evaluate the sources for exploring a topic.

Internet Sources

Technology development has greatly increased the appeal of this research among youngsters. The most cost-effective and straightforward way to conduct research is online. Researchers can browse as many resources as they like if they have an internet connection and a laptop or smartphone. Additionally, they can be downloaded for later use. The drawback of this approach is how challenging it is to go through all the available web material to discover reliable sources. Researchers risk collecting inaccurate data because misleading information could be hard to spot.

  • Case Studies

A researcher can discover pertinent information on the issue under investigation by examining current cases.

The data evaluation using primary and secondary research methods is not an easy task because you are looking to explore a topic. You will have to start from scratch and conceptualise the working definition of an issue which is tentative and strong enough for future researchers to test the assertions. Exploration is not an easy task, and therefore you must not feel shy asking someone for help. Many people are willing to help you with exploratory research. You can utilise the services of Dissertation Writing Service to get help in exploratory studies.

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Exploratory research is useful when a topic needs to be thoroughly studied or if it is completely neglected in the literature. The exploratory study does not truly seek a conclusion; instead, it seeks to explore the topic and the surrounding areas. Researchers can provide a solid basis for exploring creative ideas with the help of this type of study, which also helps them select the best research design and identify factors that are genuinely crucial for the analysis.