Purpose of Research: Exploratory, Descriptive, Explanatory

Purpose of Research

It can be hard to tell the exact purpose of business research. It will always be based on the situation and the person conducting such study. Generally speaking, a business research’s purpose is to ensure future success. Whenever a person or a group enters the market, their aim is to earn considerable profits. Well, almost all businesses want to earn money, right? Unless yours is a non-profit organization, the primary purpose of researching the market is to generate more sales and income.

When you conduct a business research, you will be gathering relevant information that you can use to make your business better. For instance, in a marketing search, you will be identifying your target market and the needs. You have to offer something that the market needs or you will not be able sell anything! Never enter into a business unless you have everything planned out. Running a business can get complicated especially if you lack knowledge. If you conduct a thorough business research, you can learn the basics and put it to good use.


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.

Conducted in order to determine the nature of the problem, exploratory research is not intended to provide conclusive evidence, but helps us to have a better understanding of the problem. When conducting exploratory research, the researcher ought to be willing to change his/her direction as a result of revelation of new data and new insights.

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. It can even help in determining the research design, sampling methodology and data collection method”. Exploratory research “tends to tackle new problems on which little or no previous research has been done”. Unstructured interviews are the most popular primary data collection method with exploratory studies.

Examples of Exploratory Research Design

  • A study into the role of social networking sites as an effective marketing communication channel
  • An investigation into the ways of improvement of quality of customer services within hospitality sector in London
  • An assessment of the role of corporate social responsibility on consumer behaviour in pharmaceutical industry in the USA


Descriptive research focuses on throwing more light on current issues through a process of data collection. Descriptive studies are used to describe the behavior of a sample population. In descriptive research, only one variable (anything that has quantity or quality that varies) is required to conduct a study. The three main purposes of descriptive research are describing, explaining and validating the findings. For example, a research conducted to know if top-level management leaders in the 21st century posses the moral right to receive a huge sum of money from the company profit.


Explanatory research or causal research is conducted to understand the impact of certain changes in existing standard procedures. Conducting experiments is the most popular form of casual research. For example, research conducted to understand the effect of rebranding on customer loyalty.

Comparative analysis

  Exploratory Research Descriptive Research Explanatory Research
Research Approach used Unstructured Structured Highly structured
Research Conducted Through Asking research questions Asking research questions By using research hypotheses.
When is it conducted? Early stages of decision making Later stages of decision making Later stages of decision making

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