Excellent Guide to Writing Successful Exploratory Essays

It is commonplace for professors to ask their students to write exploratory papers as a way of teaching them the different ways of researching a particular topic. Producing an essay of the exploratory variety can mean writing a fairly short paper or a long, complicated one. To create a successful exploratory essay, you will need to use a combination of analytical, critical thinking, and research skills if you are to explore your chosen topic in worthwhile detail. Your aim should be to get readers to focus on the problem you are addressing. The first task in writing an essay of this type is to set out the problem you will be dealing with. Then you will need to undertake a detailed analysis of it and suggest a feasible solution. In fact, you should propose a few different solutions to any one problem you are writing about. It needs to be said that the most complex part of an exploratory essay is examining a range of different ideas.      

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Key Features of an Exploratory Paper

A unique feature of an exploratory paper is the way it poses a specific question that the writer must respond to with solid facts. Nonetheless, the primary task of this type of project is not so much to provide one definitive answer to a given question, but to provide readers with sufficient information on the topic. It probably does not need mentioning that the nature of a paper of this type is non-fictional. Hence, it is incumbent upon the writer to provide the strongest possible evidence to support any statements they make. Indeed, a considerable amount of research is required to reach a well-reasoned conclusion. None of this is to say you must agree or that you must disagree with the subject matter you are dealing with. You should explore every aspect of it. Instead of providing some point or other, the aim of this assignment is to provide readers with new information about a given topic. 

An exploratory essay serves the following purposes:

  • Focuses on one main point or idea to be thoroughly researched.
  • Provides readers with a general understanding of a given subject and with information that was previously unknown to them.
  • Evaluates how much knowledge a student has on a subject.
  • Allows readers to become familiar with the writer’s personal style and touch. The tone of an exploratory essay should be convincing.

What Subject Matter is Dealt with in Exploratory Essays?

In writing this type of paper, the writer needs to provide their readers with a variety of viewpoints on the subject matter. Certainly, you need to concentrate on exploring a particular idea or fact, but you still need to begin a broad-ranging exploration of that idea or fact.

  • The emphasis of an exploratory essay is on collecting information about an important aspect of the subject or problem and presenting this to readers rather than just making one statement.
  • Exploratory essays can generate a variety of effects. Some techniques can create associations with specific objects e.g. concepts while others appeal to the imagination.
  • Essays of this type set out the results of an extensive piece of research work. In a work of this type, new and already-known facts are merged to come up with answers to the paper’s question.
  • An exploratory essay sets out a number of solutions to a given problem and discusses the appropriateness of each of these. 

When writing an exploratory paper, the points below should be borne in mind:

  1. Introduce the essay’s main idea.
  2. Show how important the subject is.
  3. Make sure your work provides new and valuable information on the given topic.
  4. Give good reasons as to why you believe readers should be interested in the topic you are discussing.
  5. Check that you have built your essay in a logical and coherent manner so that it is easy for readers to understand the main idea.

Formatting Your Paper

An exploratory essay should show how a writer has investigated their subject. The research contained in it needs to be detailed to show, for example, why the writer chose to examine that topic, what source material they collected, and what data collection methods they used. This type of paper is meant to analyze its subject matter thoroughly.

The Opening Paragraph – Introduction

This first section should let readers know about the issue or problem the writer will be discussing. The writer also needs to let readers know what results they expect to get. The introductory paragraph should set out basic information about the topic and give some clue as to why it is important. Additionally, it should be explained how the subject can be of interest to those reading the essay. In this section, you should also discuss any known causes to the problem, its history, and so on. Moreover, you should clearly indicate what sources you used to research the problem or topic.

Remember that the following should be mentioned:

  • The impact of the problem on individuals;
  • Any prerequisites to the problem;
  • The reasons why this is a serious problem;
  • Discussion about the problem’s possible consequences;
  • Identification of potential solutions for the discussed problem.    

Body of Your Essay

Give detailed information about your subject matter and include irrefutable facts in relation to it. Discuss any opinions that other researchers have given on this particular subject. Each paragraph should include an analysis of one source used to support the central point or idea. It is important to indicate why the information you have presented properly highlights the problem in question. As well as that, it is advisable to suggest any possible solutions that may be forthcoming during the research stage. The following functions should be performed by the body paragraphs:

  • Sets out main arguments concerning the topic or problem.
  • Gives important detail about items on the list of references e.g. author’s name, title of work, name of publisher, date of publication, and so on. Explains why each source was used.
  • Indicates why all data presented in a paper contributes to analyzing the given problem.
  • Puts forward compelling and attention-grabbing statements to get readers interested.
  •  Outlines the problem being explored in clear terms.
  • Gives accurate information about the topic to help readers understand the main point.

Sets out the writer’s personal viewpoint and opinion on the usefulness of the sources used. Says if gathered information changed their view of the topic. Writer tries to transition seamlessly from one source or point to the next.

Closing Paragraph – Conclusion

In this last paragraph the writer should recap and restate the essay’s question and summarize all information presented in the paper. Furthermore, a concluding paragraph should refer to the research work of other scholars on the topic and briefly analyze any solutions proposed to solve the problem.   

The writer of an exploratory essay needs to examine the topic in as much detail as they possibly can. They should not, however, try to persuade their readers to adopt their own viewpoint. What is essential is to present all information and arguments in an objective manner. This method enables both the writer and their readers to acquire new knowledge on the topic. The writer should focus on researching the issue in hand while writing an essay of the exploratory variety.

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