Skip Nav

Exploratory research

Navigation menu

❶The purpose of psychology is to explore, to describe and to explain how and why a person thinks, feels and acts. See exploratory defined for kids.

Phrases Related to EXPLORATORY

Choose a video to embed
Purpose of Research
Definition of Exploratory Research

Plus, get practice tests, quizzes, and personalized coaching to help you succeed. Login here for access. Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course. Login or Sign up. Devin has taught psychology and has a master's degree in clinical forensic psychology. He is working on his PhD. As you probably already know, there are many reasons why research is done. But, what are its purposes? Why bother with all the different styles, techniques, experiments and measurements?

Why did the first sailors, the ones before Columbus and Magellan, hop on their little canoes and paddle out? Humans naturally explore the world around them, wanting to learn about the planet we have labeled Earth. Why did Hippocrates and Galen examine and write about the maladies of man? The need to describe and understand our world is found in even the youngest children. Why did we develop an entire group of sciences to understand humans? Because what good is being human if you cannot explain why we do something.

Maybe I am being a little to 'meta' about all this. The purpose of psychology is to explore, to describe and to explain how and why a person thinks, feels and acts. Exploratory research is defined as the initial research into a hypothetical or theoretical idea. This is where a researcher has an idea or has observed something and seeks to understand more about it. An exploratory research project is an attempt to lay the groundwork that will lead to future studies or to determine if what is being observed might be explained by a currently existing theory.

Most often, exploratory research lays the initial groundwork for future research. To make this a little more understandable, imagine you are blindfolded or placed into a room without light.

You are not told if something is in the room, but you have a suspicion there is something in there. You shuffle out slowly into the room, exploring with the tips of your fingers until you find something.

Exploratory research can come in two big forms: A new topic is often unexpected and startling in its findings. For example, American psychologist John Watson really began his behaviorism research with a new topic on the study of human behaviors and learning: Because humans have brains and rats have brains, it makes a certain kind of sense.

There was an attempt to find the universal laws of learning in all brains. New angles can come from new ways of looking at things, either from a theoretical perspective or a new way of measuring something. For instance, computers have allowed large populations to be looked at. Old experiments can now involve thousands of people from around the globe instead of a few people from the local train station.

Once the groundwork is established, the newly explored field needs more information. The next step is descriptive research , defined as attempts to explore and explain while providing additional information about a topic. This is where research is trying to describe what is happening in more detail, filling in the missing parts and expanding our understanding.

This is also where as much information is collected as possible instead of making guesses or elaborate models to predict the future - the 'what' and 'how,' rather than the 'why.

Remember that room you're blind in? Descriptive research is the act of exploring the thing in the dark, creating a fuller picture of what you are looking at.

You begin to fill in what you know with what you find. We now have the clearest picture in all of history of the thinking, living brain.

Just a few decades ago, a person who wanted to look at a living brain had two options: Both options are better than a century ago, where you kind of had to wait for someone to die to examine their brain.

Research over the last few decades has been expanding our understanding, providing descriptions of the active processes in the brain. One field that is quickly growing is the field of forensic psychology. Over the last few decades, studies exploring the decision making process of police officers, the techniques used to question witnesses and the jury processes are all being examined.

There has been an active interest in many researchers to explore the field that the judicial system needs. For instance, looking into eyewitness memory studies reveals research explaining and describing the factors that influence what people see. For example, did you know that a person with different lights shining at different angles on a person's face can alter a person's entire look, including their ethnicity? How about that, even in broad daylight, people still get gender of perpetrators and victims mixed up?

Get access risk-free for 30 days, just create an account. We began exploring something new with exploratory research. Then, we conducted descriptive research to increase our knowledge of it. Lastly, we need to explain it. Explanatory research is defined as an attempt to connect ideas to understand cause and effect, meaning researchers want to explain what is going on.

Explanatory research looks at how things come together and interact. This research does not occur until there is enough understanding to begin to predict what will come next with some accuracy. The person in the dark has fully explored the elephant and understands what it looks like. Now, the process of 'how did it get here' and 'where is it going next' comes into play.

This often requires imaginative studies, more so than just touching an elephant in the dark. Explanatory research never really ends because new ideas, techniques and information are constantly increasing. This is sort of like, 'the more you know, the more you realize you need to learn.

For instance, there was a time in psychology that everyone who was anyone was a behaviorist. As time went on, the field kept running into the 'black box' a term given to the ephemeral mind. Over time, the field of behaviorism went into a sidetrack and developed into the study of cognition and neural processes. Exploratory research can also end when something has been sufficiently explained to be incorrect. For instance, the study of phrenology, or the measuring of bumps on the head to determine your personality and characteristics, was discovered to be a garbage theory.

Explanatory research is typically concerned with understanding the relationship between things and how they are in the past and the future. This often takes the form of a quantitative approach so that statistical tests can be conducted. Due to the large number of experiments occurring, pinpointing a single researcher or study is difficult.

However, examples of explanatory research include examining the neural development and degradation of drug addicts, as well as the effects of lifestyle on IQ tests in adults and children.

Each of these has a great deal of studies behind it, and the current researchers are attempting to pinpoint the exact cause-and-effect relationships between the variables involved. Exploratory research is the initial research into a hypothetical or theoretical idea. It is the first step in learning about something. Somebody gets a new idea in their head, and it leads research in a new direction.

Next, is descriptive research , which provides more elaborate descriptions and information. Descriptive research helps fill in the research community's understanding of the initial exploratory studies. Last is explanatory research , which attempts to connect ideas to understand cause and effect. This occurs when researchers are beginning to understand what they are looking at and trying to create models of cause and effect. To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.

Did you know… We have over college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1, colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level. To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page. Not sure what college you want to attend yet?

The videos on Study. Students in online learning conditions performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction. By creating an account, you agree to Study. Explore over 4, video courses. Find a degree that fits your goals. This lesson explores the purposes of research as well as three approaches to research in psychology: Try it risk-free for 30 days.

An error occurred trying to load this video. Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support. You must create an account to continue watching. Register to view this lesson Are you a student or a teacher? I am a student I am a teacher. What teachers are saying about Study. Conducting Research on People: Are you still watching?

Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds. Add to Add to Add to. Want to watch this again later? How to use a word that literally drives some people nuts. The awkward case of 'his or her'. Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words? Explore the year a word first appeared. See exploratory defined for English-language learners See exploratory defined for kids. Recent Examples of exploratory from the Web The high point came in , when the two sides actually met in person near Islamabad, Pakistan, for exploratory talks.

In fact, however, many meetings or conversations are exploratory in nature. Taylor gave birth in March, so Taurasi is very much in the exploratory parenting stage, getting a kick out of the fact that little Leo can, among other things, poop all over his own neck. Their narcissism is repellent yet riveting, and Mr.

The voluntarily underemployed tended to come from families with money, and many did not consider the decision to be a temporary exploratory detour but, rather, a permanent path.

The stars bring effortless believability as gently exploratory year-olds Conrad and Grace, who become close over a summer in which Grace loses her older brother Eric in a car accident.

Clearly, Cousins didn't regard those exploratory talks as a real offer. First Known Use of exploratory 15th century.

Other Mining and Drilling Terms ore , trepan , wildcat. Related Phrases exploratory surgery. Definition of exploratory for English Language Learners. Learn More about exploratory See words that rhyme with exploratory Spanish Central: Seen and Heard What made you want to look up exploratory? Need even more definitions? Get Word of the Day daily email!

Use 'exploratory research' in a Sentence

Main Topics

Privacy Policy

Exploratory research is research conducted for a problem that has not been studied more clearly, intended to establish priorities, develop operational definitions and improve the final research design.

Privacy FAQs

Exploratory research (or ER) is an examination into a subject in an attempt to gain further insight. With ER, a researcher starts with a general idea and uses research as a tool to identify issues that could be the focus of future research.

About Our Ads

Having a good exploratory research project may be able to help you find a new innovative product that will take the market by storm. exploratory research studies that are merely formative, for the purpose of gaining new insights, discovering new ideas, and increasing knowledge of phenomena.

Cookie Info

Exploratory research, as the name implies, intends merely to explore the research questions and does not intend to offer final and conclusive solutions to existing problems. This type of research is usually conducted to study a problem that has not been clearly defined yet. An exploratory research project is an attempt to lay the groundwork that will lead to future studies or to determine if what is being observed might be explained by a currently existing theory. Most often, exploratory research lays the initial groundwork for future research.