Features of Exploratory Research

Exploratory research functions as a source for developing ideas which are then put through further research investigation. When an investigator has a minimal level of experience with or understanding of a research issue, exploratory research is a good preliminary step. It helps ensure that a more thorough, definitive future study will not start with an insufficient knowledge of the nature of the problem.

Exploratory designs offer qualitative data and provide better idea of a concept or crystallizes a problem as opposed to offering precise measurement or quantification.

Features of Exploratory Research

Characteristics / Features of Exploratory Research Design

The exploratory research design must possess the following characteristics.

  1. Business Importance: Unless the issue has a place in the industry or has business value, its study will be ineffective and worthless.
  2. Practical Element: If needs to have practical value to the management. If it does not have any practical value it will be unproductive for business decisions.
  3. Combinations of Theory: Mere practical importance of the challenge has no meaning unless it is in accordance with theory. If a specific problem is in accordance with certain theoretical aspects it shall be easy for the researcher to assess its utility or move forward with his study in the right direction.
  4. Dependable and Useful Facts: In the absence of trustworthy and valuable facts, the study of the problem will have no managerial significance.

Characteristics of Exploratory Research Data

For the majority of purposes, it generates qualitative data. Usually, exploratory methods simply involve discussions between a researcher and the individuals being studied. Even though the researcher may guide the discussion around specific problems, the questioning is generally casual and semi-structured. Thus, the data generated by qualitative research is textual. Despite the fact that the text is analyzed, the methods of analyses aren’t statistical; textual data are not mathematical and do not lend themselves to statistical analysis. This restriction is vital. Researchers and decision makers alike often desire to generalize the findings of their research from their samples to some bigger population of interest. Textual data usually do not allow this type of generalization.

Read Also: Advantages of Exploratory Research

On the contrary, supposing other conditions are met, quantitative data could be generalized from a sample to a larger population. Making these generalizations and calculating the margins of error inherent in them makes it necessary that the data be numerical. In most cases, research procedures like surveys and experimentation generate the quantitative data required for such studies.

As a result, both of these categories of research obviously depend on each other. That is, asking the correct questions to the correct individuals in the correct way to produce generalizable statistical results demands understanding what to ask, who to ask, and how to ask. These elements of research are usually discovered by means of diligently carried out qualitative research, which examines decision problems as a way to assure that research results are not really a waste of money.

One of the most important features of exploratory research is its potential for future research. Some key characteristics are: Flexible & Versatile, no structured forms are used, no experiment, cost incurred is low, wide exploration of views, interactive & open ended.

Read Also: Types of Exploratory Research


  1. Jackmaa says

    “Research design in exploratory studies must be flexible but in descriptive studies, it must minimise bias
    and maximise reliability.” Discuss

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