Exploratory Research

Exploratory Research

Exploratory research, as the name states, intends merely to explore the research questions and does not intend to offer final and conclusive solutions to existing problems.

Conducted in order to determine the nature of the problem, exploratory research is not intended to provide conclusive evidence, but helps us to have a better understanding of the problem. Saunders et al. (2007, p.134) warn that when conducting exploratory research, the researcher ought to be willing to change his/her direction as a result of revelation of new data and new insights.

Exploratory research design does not aim to provide the final and conclusive answers to the research questions, but merely explores the research topic with varying levels of depth. “Exploratory research tends to tackle new problems on which little or no previous research has been done” (Brown, 2006, p.43). Moreover, it has to be noted that “exploratory research is the initial research, which forms the basis of more conclusive research. It can even help in determining the research design, sampling methodology and data collection method” (Singh, 2007, p.64).

Sandhursen (2000) draw the difference between exploratory and conclusive research by stating that in exploratory research will result in a range of causes and alternative options for a solution of a specific problem, whereas, conclusive research will identify the final information that is the only solution to an existing research problem.

On other words, the difference between exploratory and conclusive research designs is that exploratory research design simply explores the research questions, living room for further researches, whereas conclusive research design is aimed to provide final findings for the research.

It has been stated that “an exploratory study may not have as rigorous as methodology as it is used in conclusive studies, and sample sizes may be smaller. But it helps to do the exploratory study as methodically as possible, if it is going to be used for major decisions about the way we are going to conduct our next study” (Nargundkar, 2003, p.41).


Bell, J, 2010, Doing Your Research Project: A Guide for First Time Researchers in Education, Health and Social Science, Fifth Edition
Brown RB, 2006, Doing Your Dissertation in Business and Management: The Reality of Research and Writing, Sage Publications

Lambin, JJ, 2000, Market-Driven Management. Strategic & Operational Marketing, Palgrave.

Sandhusen, RL, 2000, Marketing, Barrons

Saunders, M, Lewis, P, Thornhill, A, 2007, Research Methods for Business Students, 4th edition, Prentice Hall

Singh, K, 2007, Quantitative Social Research Methods, SAGE Publications