Exploratory Research

What is Exploratory Research?

Exploratory research is the first step in any and every research process. It discovers the exact nature of the problem to be solved. At the end of exploratory research, there is usually a range of causes and alternative options for a solution to a specific problem. Such research will enable a researcher to set a strong foundation for exploring ideas, choosing the right research design, and finding essential variables for the analysis. Most importantly, it can help organisations save a lot of time and resources, enabling them to know if it is worth pursuing.
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What methods are employed?

Most people assume exploratory research is mainly desk/online research and literature reviews. While that may be true, Melian Dialogue understands the needs of organisations and goes much further. To give you a comprehensive picture of the problem to be solved, we employ various tools and techniques from behavioural, design and data-driven research. These could range from doing simple desk or online research to examining the literature in a
subject, field or area. Beyond this, primary data can be collected via interviews, questionnaires, focus groups, ethnographic observations, to name a few. We also use behavioural science to explain cognitive biases and non-rational behaviour. Besides, we look at aspects of human-computer interaction and data sets to discover useful information, inform conclusions and support decision making.

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How does it help organisations?

Organisations continuously face different challenges and research is required to understand them. Quite often, this can be a costly and laborious process, often requiring external professionals. By undertaking exploratory research, an organisation can ‘explore’ or ‘discover’ who the main stakeholders or users are, their needs, the journeys they go through and what the organisation must undertake to satisfy those needs. Most importantly, exploratory research is the first and necessary step before solving an organisational challenge regardless of industry or sector.

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Exploratory research at Melian Dialogue

Exploratory research has no set format; it all depends on the researcher and the client’s needs. From our years of experience, we have developed a framework which borrows from management and behavioural economics, marketing, human-computer interaction, data science and artificial intelligence. Of course, we tailor this to the client’s brief and introduce other subject areas to solve a challenge or problem. We are not confined to any academic or research ideology; we will use the right combination of research tools and approaches from any field to answer a research question.

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