How to write an exploratory essay


Exploratory essays don’t take a position, they study the problem and the different opinions about the answer. Exploratory essays reach a topic from an objective opinion with a neutral tone. These this type of paper does not solve the problem but offers various perspectives on the problem and tries to find an explain these points clearly.

Exploratory essays look at various groups of people and audiences, who have interest in the problem, and study their different perspectives while also paying attention to the common ground.

Often, there are two sides of a problem, which cause a debate. When writing an exploratory essay, try and look beyond the obvious answers to find creative solutions to the problem. For instance, if your paper is on the illegal immigration, you may consider not only conservative and liberal political views but also study the problem from the point of you of border patrol employees and the immigrants themselves.

Preparing a paper

Follow these steps when writing your exploratory essay:

  • Draw a basic plan.
  • Read different articles on the subject.
  • Find out how every article can be applied to back up the points in your plan. Use the MLA format.
  • It may be useful to gather some visuals for your paper.
  • Compose a draft. Include the transitions like “another perspective is...” or “some people believe.” If you’re talking about a certain article don’t forget to use author tags.
  • Add paraphrased and summarized ideas, as well as quotes into your draft.
  • In an exploratory essay, you usually paraphrase in your own words or summarize the positions you talk about. Use citations when they are especially striking or when you cannot paraphrase a sentence or a phrase.
  • Editing. Assess your paper by following the instructions you were given. Also ask someone else to check your paper and see whether they understand everything clearly. Check if there are any mistakes.
  • Final variant. Once you revise your paper and correct all the mistakes, prepare a final version of it.

Features of exploratory paper

Exploratory papers have the following features:

  • They indicate your personal interest in the problem and the position your support.
  • They describe and identify the problem and offer an arguable question.
  • They analyze the rhetorical situation of the problem.
  • They sum up and indicate at least three main points on the issue.

Finding a good topic

If you want to know how to write an exploratory essay interestingly, you need to find an arguable topic, which means it should be the following:

  • Not a fact you can easily check and find the answer to.
  • It should not be solved.
  • It should be interesting at the moment.
  • It should be connected to an enduring problem.
  • It is something people have different opinions about.

Prepare your paper for a thesis

Define the main topic of your paper that will relate to what will be indicated by your thesis. If there are prompts that specify the problems you need to discuss in the paper, select the subjects, which you want to focus your paper on. Exploratory papers examine your thinking process as you’re trying to work out possible outcomes for a problem. This kind of paper does not call for you to decide what the best method is but rather study how these methods may or may not work.

You can try and write the thesis before writing the paper. This way you may stay focused on the main points. However, by the time you finish researching and exploring the issue, your thesis may change completely. Therefore, it is best to craft it after you have done your research and write your paper in full.

Choose the main points and start working on a plan. Exploratory assays study the problem without taking a definite position on the topic. Your plan will be a necessary instrument while writing your thesis since it will sum up the main points of your paper and assist you to define what information is important to your thesis.

Do a profound research if you want to write a proper thesis. Otherwise, it will be difficult if you don’t know enough information on the subject. You need to find credible and verifiable sources that you can use to prove the credibility of your paper. If you want your research to be proper, you need to address all positions of a problem. It is important to research other opinions on the subject and study them properly.

Even though facts are important in an exploratory paper, you also need to concentrate on your thinking process. When trying to find a solution to the problem, think whether there is one or several solutions, or maybe there are no solutions at all. Also think about why the issues you’re studying are important. Concentrate on how your logic develops when you are trying to find answers to these questions. You can prioritize the problems of your paper by using the process of thinking and developing logical questions.

Structuring a paper

Exploratory papers are quite different from argumentative ones. In fact, they are different from any other kind of assignment you have ever written. You don’t need to convince the audience in the validity of your thesis. You will be trying to find a solution to the problem and formulate prior conditions about how it may be solved.

This kind of paper is a retrospective of your thinking and writing process as you’re trying to find a solution to the problem. It explains how, when, and why you have done certain kinds of research. This piece of writing is about how you work through problems that need to be researched and written.

Working on the thesis

Address the who, what, how, and why of the problem you are discussing. Detach major factors of the issue to find out the reasons for writing and the objective as well as the main concept of your paper. If you can’t find them, these questions may become main points for the audience. You are examining the problem by offering information to the reader not by giving a definite solution or opinion on the subject.

Prepare a couple of drafts for thesis. Try to get the essence of your paper in more than two proposals. Find the thesis that fits your work the most. If you’re still unsatisfied with the thesis rewrite it as many times as you need until you have a variant that confirms the main discussion in your paper and that applies a concise and clear language. Include the strongest words at the end of your thesis.


In the entry, outline the issue you are exploring and explain why it is important. Also, you need to briefly discuss the following:

  • The organizations and people involved with the problem
  • Possible causes of the problem
  • Several possible solutions to the problem
  • Short overview of the kinds of services you studied during your inquiry

The main section

The paragraphs of the main section should talk about the inquiry process you used to research your issue. The paragraphs should consist of the following:

  • Source introduction and why you selected it for your exploration
  • Important data you have found in the source concerning your problem
  • The importance of this source information
  • Personal reflection on how the sources assisted you and made it possible for you to think differently about the issue.


In the deduction, restate the issue you examined, highlight some of the possible causes, review the organizations and people involved, and outline some possible solutions. If there are still some questions about the issue, this is the place to discuss them. Explain why you still have questions about the issue, where you may find answers to these questions, and what other research is necessary to find solutions to the problem.

Application of exploratory essays

Exploratory essays are often found in many college research assignments and businesses. The main point of this type of paper is to let you study various viewpoints on a certain issue. Some of the examples of exploratory questions include:

  • The future of the Middle East
  • Reasons of the Civil War in the U.S.
  • Handling illegal immigration in the U.S.

Businesses may ask employees to write an exploratory paper about the following:

  • How do consumers use the product most often?
  • What do people think about the product based on different advertisements?
  • What are the most popular competing products and what are their advantages over our product?

If you study several viewpoints, you can get a better understanding of the different audiences for a problem and grasp how to develop the best possible solution.

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