It is believed that if the knowledge must be gain than you should explore first. In the field of research, exploration is the beginning point where researchers explore first than conduct further research. Thus, exploratory research is that type of research where research activities are undertaken in areas where very little prior knowledge or information is available on the subject under investigation. It is initial research conducted to study and define the nature of a problem (Pant, 2009).
When researcher lacks clear idea about the problem or area of investigation is new or vague than researcher use exploratory research design to explore some knowledge before conducting exploratory or descriptive research. Thus, it is undertaken when we do not know much about the situation or having only a little knowledge. When the hypothesis should be search than exploratory research design are appropriate. The purpose of exploratory research is to achieve new insights into a phenomenon. Diagnosing a situation, Screening alternatives, Discovering new ideas are the main purpose of conducting exploratory research.
Exploratory Research Design
Normally, researcher used qualitative research design using some samples to explore using interview, observation, focus group discussion as main tools of data collection. But, in the field of marketing and business, there days survey design also use as methods of exploratory research design and large pool of people are included using structural questionnaire methods.
The main aim of exploratory research design is to explore the research questions for further research or taking action if the solution is known. Since, the researcher does not have more information about the subject matter of area general methodology is developed using small sample size. The methodology is not rigorous but researcher develop well planned simple methodology with backup tools if necessary.
Exploratory research design is qualitative research design in general but these days mix methods using triangulation is adopted to reduce the question of validity and reliability. In the field it is comprehensive work but, design in simple way considering the justification of the use of methodology. There are no set of methods for conducting this research. So it is flexible in nature. The researcher may utilize any number of information approaches in attempting to define problem and gather the data in research design.
Process of Exploratory Research Design
Researcher at first examine the existing literature for defining problems to be study. Since there is little information available about problem it is not defined rigidly like quantitative research. After research problem is defined researcher identify techniques and tools of data collection. Researcher may get help from experts for designing tools of data collection. Interview and question people with particular expertise and experience in the subject to get additional inputs are generally considered as data collection tools considering small sample size. Researcher select tools analysis the qualitative data collected from different sources following the suggestion of supervisor or expert.