Exploratory Research – Types and Methods

Exploratory Research

Exploratory Research

Exploratory Research is a type of research conducted when the researcher does not have a clear idea of what they are looking for. This type of research is used to generate new ideas or hypotheses, and to develop theories. Exploratory research is often used in the early stages of a research project, when the researcher is trying to understand the problem they are trying to solve.

Exploratory Research Methods

While conducting the Exploratory Research the Primary and Secondary data is gathered in the following Methods.

Primary research methods


Surveys are a key component of exploratory research. They are used to collect information from a large group of people and can be administered in person, by phone, or online. Surveys are an efficient way to gather data about a wide range of topics and can be customized to target specific population


In exploratory research, interviews are used to gather preliminary information that will help define a problem or develop a research plan. The interviewer is usually interested in the respondent’s opinions, beliefs, and values. The interviewer probe for detailed explanations and ask follow-up questions as needed.

Focus groups

Focus groups can be a beneficial tool for exploratory research as they provide rich and detailed data that can help researchers to generate new hypotheses and ideas. Focus groups can be used to validate findings from other quantitative research methods.

A focus group is a qualitative research method used to gain in-depth insights into people’s attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, and perceptions. Focus groups are usually composed of 6-10 participants who are brought together for a 2-hour discussion on a specific topic, led by a trained moderator.


In exploratory research, observations are data that is collected through sensory input, such as sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste. This type of data is often collected in naturalistic settings or in real-world situations. Observations can be qualitative or quantitative in nature.

  • Qualitative observations are usually descriptive and focus on the qualities of the phenomena being observed.
  • Quantitative observations involve measuring and counting the phenomena being observed.

Secondary research methods

Literature Research

Literature research is one method of exploratory research. In literature research, the researcher looks for previous studies that have been done on the topic. This can help the researcher understand the problem better and develop new hypotheses.

Case study Research

Case study research is a valuable tool for exploratory studies. This type of research provides detailed information about a specific subject that can be used to generate new theories and hypotheses.

Case study research is often used to examine rare or unusual phenomena. This type of research can also be used to investigate a particular issue in depth. For example, case study research has been used to examine the effects of child abuse, the experience of being homeless, and the process of recovery from addiction.

Online Research

Online research is defined as the process of finding and using information from the internet. This can be done through a variety of means, such as search engines, social media, and websites.

Examples of Exploratory Research

  • One example of exploratory research is a survey that asks open-ended questions in order to gather information about people’s opinions and beliefs. This type of survey can be used to explore a wide range of topics, such as people’s views on a new product or service, their thoughts on current events, or their feelings about a particular issue.
  • Another Example is When scientists want to study a new species, they first have to do some exploratory research to learn more about the animal’s habitat and behavior. This helps them figure out the best way to study the species without disturbing its natural environment.

When to use Exploratory Research

Some scenarios where Exploratory Research may be particularly useful include:

  • when there is little existing data or knowledge about a topic.
  • When the problem or question being investigated is complex.
  • When there are several possible solutions or interpretations of the data
  • When the researcher wants to generate new ideas or theories.

How to Conduct Exploratory Research

There are a few key steps to conducting effective exploratory research.

  • You need to clearly define the problem.
  • You need to understand the context of the problem by researching existing literature on the topic.
  • You need to identify potential solutions and approaches to solving the problem.

Once you have completed your exploratory research, you will have a better understanding of the problem and be able to develop a more focused research plan. This will help ensure that your final research project is more successful.

Advantages of Exploratory Research

The advantages of exploratory research are many.

  • It allows you to explore an idea or topic in more depth, which can lead to new and innovative discoveries.
  • It can help you better understand your research topic, and it can also help you develop new ideas for further study.
  • Exploratory research is also helpful in refining your research question or hypothesis, and it can help you identify potential sources of data.
  • Additionally, exploratory research can help you determine the feasibility of a research project.

Disadvantages of Exploratory Research

Some disadvantages of exploratory research are as follows:

  • It can be time-consuming and expensive.
  • Exploratory research often involves conducting several interviews or focus groups and reviewing the literature on the topic.
  • The researcher does not know precisely what they are looking for, it can be difficult to understand how to frame the questions and determine which data to collect. This can lead to wasted time and resources.

About the author

Muhammad Hassan

I am Muhammad Hassan, a Researcher, Academic Writer, Web Developer, and Android App Developer. I have worked in various industries and have gained a wealth of knowledge and experience. In my spare time, I enjoy writing blog posts and articles on a variety of Academic topics. I also like to stay up-to-date with the latest trends in the IT industry to share my knowledge with others through my writing.