Researchers employ exploratory research when little is known about the topic and previous theories or ideas do not apply. For example, if you wanted to study how to get students to use the computer lab in a college environment, you might first have to do exploratory research to figure out which students might need the lab and what appeals to this demographic. Exploratory research clarifies problems, gathers data and creates initial hypothesis and theories about subjects. The primary point of exploratory research is to give researchers pertinent information and help them to form initial hypotheses about the subject. Exploratory research is challenging in the sense that it tackles vaguely defined hypothesis and tries to find answers to questions. This kind of research is social in nature and requires some preliminary work in the direction of the research. In fact, sociologist Earl Babbie treats exploratory as the purpose of the research saying this kind of research proves to be useful when the hypothesis has yet not been formed or developed. There are certain basic premises that need to be tested at the start of an exploratory research. With the help of these hypotheses, the researcher hopes to arrive at more generalizations. Exploratory research is a form of research conducted for a problem that has not been clearly defined. Exploratory research helps determine the best research design, data collection method and selection of subjects. It should draw definitive conclusions only with extreme caution. Given its fundamental nature, exploratory research often concludes that a perceived problem does not actually exist.
Exploratory research often relies on secondary research such as reviewing available literature and/or data, or qualitative approaches such as informal discussions with consumers, employees, management or competitors, and more formal approaches through in-depth interviews, focus groups, projective methods, case studies or pilot...
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