Several retail stores have filed a chapter 11 or bankruptcy, and Forever 21 is one of these liquidated stores as a result of an unwanted event that they call retail apocalypse. This news shook the clothing retail industry. However, the company’s executive vice president, Linda Chang, announced through a press release that it is just part of the necessary steps to ensure the future of the company. Meaning, they are not totally down but rather just closing specific stores in certain areas as part of their business plan.
Business people don’t just do significant actions such as file bankruptcy for their business without studying it. It also applies to business actions such as launching a new product. You don’t want to cross a road blindfolded. Thus, conducting certain studies such as exploratory research is a must before executing a particular step.
Exploratory research is an unstructured study, which you can conduct to investigate or explore a research question or problem that is still in the preliminary stage. The purpose of this investigation is to come up with an appropriate research framework and data analyzation methodology. Aside from descriptive research and causal research, exploratory study is also one of the essential research types that you can use to conduct marketing research. This research type allows you to gather the necessary preliminary information that are needed to formulate the most appropriate problem and hypothesis for the analysis.
Unlike conclusive research, exploratory research does not offer a final solution to a problem. Exploratory research only intends to explore a research problem. Thus, it allows you to do further research. Exploratory research, on the other hand, provides a conclusion to each problem.
One of the best characteristics of exploratory research is its flexibility. With this approach, you can maximize the information that you intend to gather since the questions that you are going to throw at your subjects are mostly open-ended. This method can suit best with specific market research methods such as a concept or ad testing. For example, to get a deeper understanding of what the consumers think about the product that you are going to launch, you can ask open-ended questions. Through these questions, you can maximize the insights that you can get from your customers.
As part of the growth of your business, you have to take the necessary steps such as business expansions, launching new products, etc. To do that, you will have to conduct the necessary research for certain reasons and conducting exploratory research is one of those necessary steps. Through this study, you will know if you need to execute a certain step or action.
In some situations, utilizing the data gathered through secondary research will be a big help. However, in certain situations such as studying your target market, relying on this type of data alone can be a bad idea. Secondary research relies on the information that researchers conducted in the past. Thus, this information might not be timely and relevant to the subject that you are going to analyze. With exploratory research, you can customize the questions that you are going to directly ask your target audience. In this case, you can get more accurate information.
Another thing that you should know about exploratory research is it relies on research techniques such as the following. This information can be qualitative and quantitative.
Through secondary research, you can gather information from existing studies. You can easily gather this type of information since the authorities have been publishing several types of research publicly through the internet. Sources of this data-collection method may include magazines, case study reports, books, newspapers, etc.
Get a better understanding of how exploratory research looks like by downloading the following examples and templates below.
Although exploratory research is just a fragment of broad research, researchers still follow certain steps to conduct the study which you should do as well. Through these steps, you will ensure that the study that you are going to conduct will go accordingly.
As we have mentioned earlier, exploratory research intends to explore a research problem to formulate the most appropriate problem and hypothesis for the research. Thus, in this step, you will have to determine the research problem that needs exploration.
After that, you will have address these problems by formulating questions about the predicaments.
Once you have the formulated questions and the problems, check for any prior investigations with the same topic. If there are no existing studies, you can, then, form the hypothesis based on the questions obtained in the previous steps.
Since this research is unstructured, you will only conduct this research as part of well-structured research. Now, that you have the necessary hypothesis, you will, then, gather the relevant data for your research through the techniques that we have discussed earlier which are the secondary research and primary research.
As a business leader, every step you take for your business matters. Therefore, you should do appropriate measures such as conducting exploratory research before you will execute any proposed business action or business plan. These measures will ensure that the results or the outcome of the steps you take will go accordingly.