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How to Write an Exploratory Essay: Comprehensive Instructions

Essay writing is something that all students are familiar with in one way, form or shape, but one thing that many don’t realize is the large number of various types of essays that exist out there. Each essay type has its own aim, style, and set of expectations that it entails. Therefore, for writers and students who take their work seriously, it is vital to know and understand the differences between different types of essays to be confident that their work is as it should be. One of the most widespread types of essays that students will deal with in high school, college or university is the exploratory essay. This is a particularly interesting and unordinary form of writing, so some students experience challenges while writing an exploratory essay. It is really not an easy type of assignment as you have to be objective and to cite a sufficient number of facts to support your claims. So, if you are one of the students who are searching for some guidance, hints on how to write an exploratory essay, you can find everything you need here.

Read this article and you will get the answer to your question “what is exploratory writing?” as well as learn how to choose a good topic for your essay, find the problem of the essay, how to write it well and other significant information.

What Is an Exploratory Essay?

An exploratory essay definition is a piece of writing that considers a certain topic or issue, delves into it and explores possible solutions. Sometimes, this type of paper includes background about how you have approached the topic of investigation, as well as the details of your research process. While other types of essays take a concrete attitude towards a problem and offer extensive support for that attitude, exploratory writing covers how you have arrived at a particular idea and what methods and research materials you’ve used to explore it.

Exploratory essays give the author the privilege to explore while writing, as in this type of essays he or she does not have to make their own thesis, raise an argument, or prove it. While writing an exploratory essay, you are free to explore your subject matter. In an exploratory essay, also called an investigateve essay, all you have to do is to explore, but not prove, which means that you don’t have to gather evidence in order to support your thesis statement. What is more, exploratory essays create a debate that arises from the different points of view on the same subject matter being explored. This type of essays tells the main point or general idea of the thesis statement and acts as a guide to future research.

Like with any other form of writing, there are specific rules and guidelines to follow, so check out the guide and tips on how to write an exploratory essay properly below.

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What Is the Aim of an Exploratory Essay?

Exploratory papers not only help you learn more and grow as an author but also lead you to new understandings, insights, and discoveries in certain area of study.

As you can see, exploratory essay writing is quite an interesting type of assignment. You may find out a lot of new information about different exciting things. For this reason, do not hesitate if in the process of writing you will have to explore the things which can seem ridiculous for you. After doing research, you will find out that there is a correlation between different things. Do not become nervous when you are assigned an exploratory essay since it helps students grow as writers, scholars, explorers, as well as humans.

What to Include in an Exploratory Essay Paper?

Since exploratory essays are different from other essay types, there are certain elements that make them particular. Therefore, if you need more information on how to write an exploratory essay, regarding the major points to focus on, look at the following list:

  • Exploratory essays don’t reach a specific conclusion about a topic, they rather explore multiple possibilities and conclusions. Thus, your essay might include several viewpoints about the topic of investigation.
  • This type of essays will include some reflection on your own research and writing process. So, you might reflect on what pieces of evidence or what sources were the most helpful as you were exploring the topic.
  • The primary purpose of an exploratory essay is to make an inquiry about an issue or topic, research the context, and address possible solutions.
  • The author should remain neutral, not trying to solve the problem right away. He/she should explore all the potential perspectives of the problem, and make am attempt to explain those viewpoints.

Types of Exploratory Questions

Having a clear understanding of the information you aim to get helps you stay on track while carrying out your investigation. Here are the types of exploratory questions you need to ask when writing this essay:

  • Fact questions

A fact question usually has an exact answer. It is the “who…?” “what…? “where…?” and “when….?” question. This question aims to confirm the parties involved in the topic/event/issue, what incited the problem, if there is a case for a geographical problem, and answers if there was a similar case in the past to analyze the possibility of a future recurrence.

  • Convergent questions

Though similar to a fact question, a convergent question differs in that it calls for a lengthier explanation than those mentioned above. However, like a fact question, it has an exact answer. It often starts with words like: “according to,” “why,” and “how.”

  • Evaluative questions

Also known as the opinion question, this question aims to provoke more detailed opinions to rule out judgment on a topic/issue. It may start with words like: “how well,” “do you think,” and “why should.”

  • Divergent questions

A divergent question or an idea question aims to incite people’s reasoning to hear their ideas on a topic. It can have many acceptable answers. This question often starts with words like: “what if,” “how would,” “how could.”

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Exploratory Writing Assignment: The Key Points to Consider

Let us now discuss the details of an exploratory writing assignment. Note that your professor may also provide you with the assignment rubric or an exploratory essay example to help you determine if your paper meets the necessary guidelines. Nevertheless, being tasked with writing an exploratory essay, you should pay attention to the following points:




While exploratory essays will generally follow academic style guidelines, they differ from other essays because they tend to utilize a more reflective, personal tone. This doesn’t mean that you can cast off academic style rules, however.

Rather, think of an exploratory essay as a venue for presenting your topic and methods to a sympathetic and intelligent audience of fellow researchers. Most importantly, make sure that your writing is clear, correct, and concise.


The length of the essay may vary depending on the course subject, topic, and course level. For example, an exploratory essay assigned in an upper-level psychology course will likely be longer than a similar writing assignment in an introductory course.

However, similarly to other types of essays, exploratory ones usually include at least five paragraphs, but they can range from a few pages to the length that is typical of a full research paper.


As an exploration of your approach to a topic, an exploratory essay will necessarily incorporate research material. As a result, you should expect to include a bibliography or references page with your essay. This page will list both the sources that you cite in your essay, as well as any sources that you may have consulted during your research process.

The citation style of your essay’s bibliography will vary based on the subject of the course. For example, an exploratory essay for a sociology class will probably adhere to APA style, while an essay in a history class might use Chicago style.

Exploratory Essay Outline

Like most essays, an exploratory essay outline has three main parts: introduction, body and conclusion. When writing your exploratory essay, you need to ensure all these areas are appropriately covered with the relevant information. Knowing what to put in each section is the first part of writing a good exploratory essay.

  • Introduction. Here you define the key terms in your subject matter and describe the issues at hand. In so doing, you give your reader a preview of what to expect and a reason to keep on reading. Remember to introduce your topic in a way that grabs your reader’s attention or else they won’t continue to read.
  • Body. This section should contain the main points for or against your theory or viewpoint of the given exploratory essay topic. Make sure you include examples, facts, figures and any information required to make your points valid and understood.
  • Conclusion. This is where you summarize the issue, its main points and your final thoughts on the subject matter.

How to Write an Exploratory Essay: The Essentials

An exploratory type of paper presupposes that you have to explore your specific topic with the help of thorough research. You can imagine that you are a journalist who needs to write an article for a professional magazine. So, if you need to write an exploratory essay, stick to these points and the process of writing will be pleasant and easy!

You should clearly present your main idea in the paper. Your audience should understand what they are reading. Do not forget to provide the readers with the context so that they can easily understand the situation. State your research questions in order to show what will be analyzed in your paper. You should encourage your readers with a compelling thesis statement so that they want to read your paper till the end. Remember that it is one of the most important parts of any paper.

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How to Choose a Good Topic for an Exploratory Essay?

Exploratory essay topics require a writer to look at all viewpoints of the given subject matter and make a logical argument to prove his/her theory or stance. Good topics for exploratory essay usually have at least two arguable viewpoints, require a lot of research and must include facts and figures to help the reader understand each viewpoint and prove the writer’s case.

To be considered interesting and well-written, your essay should have arguable questions. Therefore, to have a good topic to explore, you should choose a question that is:

  • Actual and the matter of controversy;
  • Not solved yet;
  • Not something that you can easily find an answer or solution to;
  • Interesting to the audience, at present;
  • Linked to an enduring issue;
  • An issue that you will be able to find at least three different points of view on.

Great Exploratory Essay Topics

If you are looking for an outstanding topic for your paper, the following make for great ones:

  1. Handling a mobile phone at an early age inhibits a child’s creativity.
  2. Smartphones result in poor communication through speech.
  3. How does technology curb job opportunities
  4. Social media increases the rate of depression and anxiety among teens.
  5. The chain of divorce extends to the children.
  6. Professional sports affect the player’s psychological well-being.
  7. Actors pose to be the best role models.
  8. Is e-learning the solution to poor teaching techniques?
  9. Does diversity in a workplace increase productivity?
  10. Who suffers during divorce the most: the husband, wife, children, or close relatives?
  11. Who always seeks divorce: men or women?
  12. Does a high concentration of plastics increase the greenhouse effect in our environment?
  13. Is nuclear energy the future of energy resources?
  14. Which makes for easy reading: hard copy or soft copies?
  15. Will technology ease out the work stress or worsen the situation?

Below you can find an example that will help you to clarify some aspects.

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Exploratory Essay Example

If you don’t know how to write in this genre and you are looking for a good exploratory essay sample, we also have expert prompts for you. We hope that you will find the following information helpful in your creative process. Imagine that you have to create an exploratory paper on the topic “Does global warming have any negative influence on nesting of blue jays?”

Firstly, you should explain that there can be a correlation between the nesting habits of blue jays and global warming. Then, you should inform your readers that the paper will present research that will prove this possibility or disprove it. After that, provide some information on the recent changes in the nesting habits of blue jays. From this, you can assume that global warming can lead to the changes in nesting habits of these birds. Then, it is appropriate to give the information that not only blue jays but also other species are in danger. If global warming impacts on blue jays negatively, perhaps other species of birds are also at risk. This will lead your readers to a compelling statement. After that, you can start exploring various researches conducted on this topic. Share everything that you find in your exploratory essay.

A Trusted Exploratory Essay Writing Service

As you can see, exploratory writing is not a task that everyone can cope with. Some students may lack the patience, time or writing skills to handle it. Others may have other priorities or responsibilities to focus on. If you don’t want to undertake and work on your exploratory paper, and rather use some help, let deal with it. We are a custom paper writing service with a brilliant team, many years of professional experience, firm guarantees, and affordable prices. Our writers and editors work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to be able to handle any task and assist any student to perform better. Whether it is a simple essay, movie review or a long research paper, you can count on us.

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