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Exploratory Research: What is it? And 4 Ways to Implement it in Your Research!

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❶Exploratory research or formulative research:

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Adding a few open-ended questions in surveys with large amounts of respondents can be somewhat difficult and time-consuming to sort through, but it can indicate important trends and opinions for further research.

So we learned how exploratory research works to give your survey and research design a better focus and significantly limits any unintended bias. As shown through our four different examples, this form of research functions best as a starting point for descriptive research. Descriptive research, on the other hand, can measure your data statistically. That is why descriptive research is the next stop on our train ride through the different research methods. Hi Yusuf, The answer to your question is that it depends on what your research goals are.

Or are you asking open-ended questions to gain information on customer perception? Exploratory research is not defined based on the topic of your study, but instead on the information you are trying to find.

If you want to do exploratory survey research on the topic, ask respondents to share their favourite parts of the event and areas where the event can be improved. This is opposed to writing multiple choice questions that force the respondent to choose from a premade list of answers.

This is extremely informative and so simple to understand for novice researchers like myself — I am currently working on my Msc dissertation proposal and the goal of my study is to generate data from nurses and explore their knowledge, perceptions, attitudes and beliefs in the use of music in an emergency department..

I have decided to use two focus groups with participants in each.. In the country I am living in such study has never been done and overall there is a dearth in European literature addressing this topic..

After reading your article my mind is clear that the most suitable design would be exploratory.. I am writing this first of all to thank you for your post and to please ask for your opinion on whether you feel I am on the right track? I am glad that you found the article so helpful!

Sounds like you are right on track in your exploratory research. Focus groups are definitely a great way to develop a better understanding of how a group feels on a topic. After you receive all your valuable feedback, remember that the information is still exploratory.

To quantify your findings, you will have to journey to the descriptive or causal forms of research. But for now your focus groups will be a great starting point to gather general sentiments on the subject, giving you direction for follow up studies. When setting up your focus groups remember to find a good mix of nurses based on different descriptors like age, years employed, gender, location of work, etc. Microsoft has utilized groups of researchers to monitor and videotape people who use computers at home and at the job.

For example, an advertising agency carried out focus groups interviews with serious tennis players. They asked questions to them and found that, however pleasant they were off the court, those who played 2 or 3 times each week were worried about only one thing on the court: These players were excited about any product which gave them a competitive advantage. A menacing racquet with plenty of power is vital. An kids products company needed to determine what is of critical importance to moms of young babies.

The company, which intended to target Hispanic-Americans, next wanted answers to a number of questions. The research uncovered quite interesting information: An Hispanic mom wants a baby which is chubby, has rosy cheeks. Applied research in administration is often exploratory because there is need for flexibility in approaching the problem. In addition there are often data limitations and a need to make a decision within a short time period.

Qualitative research methods such as case study or field research are often used in exploratory research. Exploratory research or formulative research: The objective of exploratory research is to gather preliminary information that will help define problems and suggest hypotheses. The objective of descriptive research is to describe the characteristics of various aspects, such as the market potential for a product or the demographics and attitudes of consumers who buy the product.

The objective of causal research is to test hypotheses about cause-and-effect relationships. If the objective is to determine which variable might be causing a certain behavior, i. In order to determine causality, it is important to hold the variable that is assumed to cause the change in the other variable s constant and then measure the changes in the other variable s. There are often much deeper psychological considerations, that even the respondent may not be aware of this is not true.

There are two research methods for exploring the cause and effect relationship between variables:. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Given its fundamental nature Exploratory research often relies on techniques such as: RSS feeds efficiently supply researchers with up-to-date information services such as Google Alerts may send major search-engine search results by email to researchers services such as Google Trends track comprehensive search results over lengthy periods of time researchers may set up websites to attract worldwide feedback on any subject When research aims to gain familiarity with a phenomenon or to acquire new insight into it in order to formulate a more precise problem or to develop a hypothesis, exploratory studies also known as formulative research come in handy.

Exploratory research takes place when problems are in a preliminary stage. Exploratory research is flexible and can address research questions of all types what, why, how.


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An exploratory study must always be designed and executed in order to answer a number of a-priory questions. Our experience in dozens of scientific projects has allowed us identify the 5 mostly shared kinds of questions that researchers ask themselves.

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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. It has been noted that “exploratory research is the initial research, which forms the basis of more conclusive research.

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Exploratory research is not defined based on the topic of your study, but instead on the information you are trying to find. If you want to do exploratory survey research on the topic, ask respondents to share their favourite parts of the event and areas where the event can be improved. Questions like these are often the foundation of exploratory research because they reveal our desire to understand the world around us. Exploratory research (or ER) is an examination into a subject in an attempt to gain further insight.

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Third, exploratory research answers questions about actually administering a large and expensive research project. For example, researchers can use exploratory research to learn words and phrases meaningful to the people being studied. They can also get a sense of how best to. Exploratory research could be a one study or a group of informal research meant to offer background information. Research workers have to be innovative in the selection of information sources to be researched.