Presented by Zara Imran
MSBA I & II , MBA V & VI
Dated: May 18, 2015
Time: 6:00 pm till 10:00 pm
Defining Problem Results in
Clear Cut Research Objectives
1. Secondary Data
2. Experience Survey
3. Pilot Studies
Initial research conducted to clarify and define
the nature of a problem
Does not provide conclusive evidence
Subsequent research expected.
If not well defined:
–Exploratory Research is used to clarify/define
Case: Manager tells you “sales just aren’t what
we expected for this kite”
Exploratory research is defined as the initial
research into a hypothetical or theoretical idea.
This is where a researcher has an idea or has
observed something and seeks to understand
more about it
Exploratory research can come in two big forms:
A new topic is often unexpected and startling in its findings.
For example, American psychologist John really began his
behaviorism research with a new topic on the study of human
behaviors and learning: rats!
Because humans have brains and rats have brains, it makes a
certain kind of sense. There was an attempt to find the
universal laws of learning in all brains.
can come from new ways of looking at things, either from a
theoretical perspective or a new way of measuring something.
For example, computers have allowed large populations to be
looked at. Old experiments can now involve thousands of
people from around the globe instead of a few people from
the local train station.
new topic new angle
Why Conduct Exploratory Research?
Diagnose a situation
Screening of alternatives
Discover new ideas
Exploratory research procedure that tests some
sort of stimulus as a proxy for an idea about a
new, revised, or repositioned product
1. Experience/Expert surveys
2. Secondary data analysis
3. Case studies/Analysis
4. Pilot studies
5. Literature review
6. Depth interviews
7. Focus groups
8. moderator guidebook lists
10.Open ended Questions
Ask knowledgeable individuals
about a particular research problem
- most are quite willing
“If you wish to know the road up the
mountain, you must ask the man who
goes back and forth on it.”
Expert surveys allow us to gain information from
specialists in a field that we are less qualified or
if I was tasked with surveying the public’s stance
and awareness on environmental issues, I could
create a preliminary expert survey for a selected
group of environmental authorities.
It would ask broad open-ended questions that are
designed to receive large amounts of content,
providing the freedom for the experts to
demonstrate their knowledge. With their input, I
would be able to create a survey covering all sides
of the issues.
Exploratory research often relies on
secondary research such as :
Reviewing available literature and/or data,
Qualitative approaches such as informal
discussions with consumers, employees,
management or competitors,
Formal Quantitative approaches through in-
depth interviews, focus groups, projective
methods, case studies or pilot studies.
Data collected for a purpose other than the
project at hand
All research strategies can benefit from
reviewing similar studies taken and learning
from their results.
previous research as free direction
For example, if you are running your second
annual customer feedback survey, look at the
questions that were provided the most useful
information and reuse them in your new survey.
It is almost impossible to come up with a research
topic that hasn’t been conducted before.
Beyond this, when it comes to designing your survey
and research plan, it is usually not best to reinvent the
External secondary research can also help you
perfect your research design.
Beyond reviewing other organizations’ research
projects, social media like blogs and forums can give
you a better sense of the issues, opinions and
behaviors that go along with your research’s subject
Researchers can understand a lot in regards to a problem by
studying carefully selected examples or cases of the
case studies are suitable to undertake exploratory research.
A researcher must examine carefully the previously published
case studies with regard to variables like price, advertisement,
changes in the trend, etc.
Examples of Exploratory Research.
For example, L.L.Bean is recognized for its exceptional order
fulfillment. Even during the busy Christmas season, the
corporation usually fills over 99 % of its orders correctly. For that
reason, various other businesses have sought to improve their
own order fulfillment by benchmarking L.L.Bean.
This research is conducted to clarify ambiguous problems. In this
article, we have discussed about the different types of
exploratory research design, its examples, and methods. Post
your feedback or queries in comments.
Intensely investigates one or a few situations similar
to the problem
Investigate in depth
May require cooperation
Watch a video on Exploratory Research :
An increasingly popular form of case analysis is ethnography.
Ethnography is useful as an exploratory research tool
These procedures, which have been adapted from anthropology,
often in- volve prolonged observation of consum- ers during the
course of their ordinary daily lives.
it can allow insights based on real behav- ior, not just on what
Microsoft has used teams of researchers to observe and
videotape com- puter users at home and at work.
Not long ago, the researchers observed 50 families in seven
countries as they used the next version of the company’s
operating system. Through this process, they found over 1,000
problems, about 800 of which hadn’t been identified by
company testers.8 We end this section on ethnography and
other forms of case analysis with some words of caution about
their (mis)use. Interpreting the rich, qualitative data produced
by these techniques is very difficult to do. Remaining objective
about the results (i.e., not allowing preconceived ideas and
expectations to in- fluence the interpretation) may be even
harder to do. exploratory research.
As a researcher, you might ex- amine existing records,
observe the phenomenon as it occurs, conduct
unstructured interviews, or use any one of a variety of
other approaches to analyze what is happening in a given
when asked how Aeropostale selects the clothes it wants
to carry in its stores, CEO Julian Geiger had this to say:
“We don’t look at what’s on the selling floor of our
competitors. We look at what’s on the backs of our
customers. Our design group goes all over. Sure, everybody
goes to London and Paris and Barcelona.
But we go to Great Adventure and con- certs, spring
break, train stations, and airports to see what the real kids
are wearing.”7 Case analyses can be performed in lots of
Some- times individuals are interviewed, and
sometimes situations or people are observed
Several years ago, a company decided to
improve the productivity of its sales force.
A researcher carefully observed sev- eral of the
company’s best salespeople in the field and
compared them to several of the worst.
It turned out that the best salespeople were
checking the stock of retailers and pointing out
items on which they were low; the low
performers were not taking the time to do this.
Without being in the field with the sales force,
this insight probably wouldn’t have been
A collective term
Any small scale exploratory study that uses sampling
But does not apply rigorous standards
To promote efficiency in conducting surveys,
researchers usually perform a pilot survey.
especially those that require a large number of
Applied on a smaller sample compared to the
planned sample size.
In this phase of conducting a survey, the
questionnaire is administered to a percentage of the
total sample population, or in more informal cases
just to a convenience sample.
Conducting a pilot survey prior to the actual,
large-scale survey presents many benefits
and advantages for the researcher.
1. Exploration of the particular issues that
may potentially have an antagonistic
impact on the survey results. These issues
include the appropriateness of questions to
the target population.
2. Tests the correctness of the instructions
to be measured by whether all the
respondents in the pilot sample are able to
follow the directions as indicated
provides better information on whether the
type of survey is effective in fulfilling the
purpose of the study.
Practically speaking, it save financial
resources because if errors are found in the
questionnaire or interview early on, there
would be a lesser chance of unreliable
results or worse, that you would need to
start over again after conducting the survey.
main objective of a pilot study is to
determine whether conducting a large-scale
survey is worth the effort.
Read also: The Pilot Study.
Two types of pilot survey according to
administer the questionnaire
to a small group of target
participants who will not be
included in the main survey.
consider the respondents in
the pilot as the first
participants in the main
certain number of
respondents as if it is the real
and full scale survey, not a
informing the respondents that
they are in the pre-test phase. The
respondents are to be asked what
they can say about the
questionnaire, specifically their
reactions, comments and
•Focus Group Interviews
Projective techniques (objective hypothesis)
These technique are based on the phenomenon of
In these technique relatively indefinite and
unstructured stimuli are provided to the subject and
he or she is asked to structured them in any way
In doing so they unconsciously projects their own
desires, hopes, fears, repressed wishes etc.
1. Word association tests
2. Sentence completion method
3. Third-person technique
4. Role playing
Picture frustration version of T.A.T.
It is a simple technique devised by Galton in 1879.
In word association respondents are presented
with a list of words one at a time and asked to
respond to each with the first word that comes to
The word of interest called test words usually 55
Responses are analyzed by calculating -
The frequency with which any word is given as a
The amount of time that elapses before a responses is
The number of respondents who do not respond at all to
a test word within a reasonable period of time.
Eggs and Ham
In Sentence completion or unfinished
sentences, the respondents are given incomplete
sentences and asked to complete them.
Generally, they are asked to use the first word or
phrase that comes to mind.
My father seldom.......................
Most people don't know that I'm afraid
When I was a child, I.......................
When encountering frustration, I
People who drink beer are ______________________
A man who drinks light beer is ___________________
Imported beer is most liked by ___________________
A woman will drink beer when____________________
• This includes list of 40 incomplete
sentences and there is no specific time
limit for the respondent and psychologist.
• The respondent makes such sentences
that manifest his unconscious desires,
thinking, frustrations, emotions, anxiety,
mental state etc.
Five types of attitudes are kept in mind while
assessing the personalities from resultant
1) Attitude towards family
2) Social attitude
3) Emotional attitude
4) Sexual attitude
5) Character traits
A well- known early example is the Machover
Draw-a- person test (D-A-P Machover 1949).
In this test the individual is provided with
paper and pencil and is told to “draw a
Completion of the first drawing he or she is
asked to draw a person of the opposite sex or
of a different gender.
The drawing is usually followed by a series of
question to elicit specific information about
age , schooling, occupation.
Analysing memories especially those of early
life , in order to understand recurrent or
intractable conflicts in later life.
In Bruhn’s cognitive – perceptual theory,
autobiographical memories are central to the
understanding of personality.
The early memories procedure (EMP Bruhn ,
1989) is a self administered paper-and –pencil
instrument that samples 21 autobiographical
memories from the entire life span , not just
The first part calls for six general or
spontaneous memories delimited primarily by
specific timeframes (the five earliest
memories and a particularly important life
The second part comprises 15 specific or
directed memories that explore a diverse set
of events and areas that may be clinically
relevant (e.g. a traumatic memory, one’s first
punishment memory or one’s happiest
The subject is given an incomplete
sentence, story, argument or
conversation, and asked to finish it.
Brand mapping (Gordon and
A subject is asked to role-play, act, draw
or paint a specific concept or situation.
Focus on the manner in which the subject
constructs something, rather than on
what it represents
The subjects have to explain why certain
things are most important¨ or least
important¨, or to "rank" or order¨ or
“categorize” certain factors associated
with a product, brand or service
• TAT, is a projective psychological test.
• The TAT is popularly known as the picture interpretation
• Historically, it has been among the most widely researched,
taught, and used of such tests.
• Its adherents assert that the TAT taps a subject's unconscious
to reveal repressed aspects of personality, motives and needs
for achievement, power and intimacy, and problem-solving
The subject is asked to tell as dramatic a story as they can for each
picture presented, including:
• what has led up to the event shown
• what is happening at the moment
• what the characters are feeling and thinking
• what the outcome of the story was
• it uses a standard series of provocative yet ambiguous
pictures about which the subject is asked to tell a story.
• If these elements are omitted, particularly for children or
individuals of low cognitive abilities, the evaluator may
ask the subject about them directly.
• There are 31 picture cards in the standard form of the TAT.
• Some of the cards show male figures, some female, some
both male and female figures, some of ambiguous gender,
some adults, some children, and some show no human
figures at all.
• One card is completely blank.
• Although the cards were originally designed to be matched
to the subject in terms of age and gender, any card may be
used with any subject.
• Most practitioners choose a set of approximately ten
cards, either using cards that they feel are generally
useful, or that they believe will encourage the subject's
expression of emotional conflicts relevant to their specific
history and situation
The TAT is often administered to individuals as part of a
battery, or group, of tests intended to evaluate
personality. It is considered to be effective in eliciting
information about a person's view of the world and his or
her attitudes toward the self and others.
As people taking the TAT proceed through the various story
cards and tell stories about the pictures, they reveal their
expectations of relationships with peers, parents or other
authority figures, subordinates, and possible romantic
In addition to assessing the content of the stories that the
subject is telling, the examiner evaluates the subject's
manner, vocal tone, posture, hesitations, and other signs
of an emotional response to a particular story picture.
a person who is made anxious by a certain picture may make
comments about the artistic style of the picture, or remark
that he or she does not like the picture; this is a way of
avoiding telling a story about it.
In addition to its application in individual assessments, the TAT is
frequently used for research into specific aspects of human
personality, most often needs for achievement, fears of failure,
hostility and aggression, and interpersonal object relations.
"Object relations" is a phrase used in psychiatry and psychology to
refer to the ways people internalize their relationships with others
and the emotional tone of their relationships.
Research into object relations using the TAT investigates
a variety of different topics, including the extent to which people
are emotionally involved in relationships with others;
their ability to understand the complexities of human relationships;
their ability to distinguish between their viewpoint on a situation
and the perspectives of others involved; their ability to control
aggressive impulses; self-esteem issues; and issues of personal
For example, one recent study compared responses to the TAT from a group of psychiatric
inpatients diagnosed with dissociative disorders with responses from a group of non-
dissociative inpatients, in order to investigate some of the controversies about dissociative
identity disorder (formerly called multiple personality disorder).
The large number of research studies that have used
the TAT have indicated that cultural, gender, and
class issues must be taken into account when
determining whether a specific response to a story
card is "abnormal" strictly speaking, or whether it
may be a normal response from a person in a
For example, the card labeled 6GF shows a younger
woman who is seated turning toward a somewhat
older man who is standing behind her and smoking a
pipe. Most male subjects do not react to this picture
as implying aggressiveness, but most female subjects
regard it as a very aggressive picture, with
unpleasant overtones of intrusiveness and danger.
Many researchers consider the gender difference in
responses to this card as a reflection of the general
imbalance in power between men and women in the
After obtaining and analyzing the results of
the pilot survey, logistical, technical and
other issues or problems can be addressed.
The questionnaire or interview format can
be revised, or the type of survey may be
altered into a more suitable one. After the
revision of the survey, the researcher may
opt to conduct a second pilot survey to
determine whether the errors and issues are
If the problems were minor, then the large-
scale survey can be executed.
The results of exploratory research are not
usually useful for decision-making by
themselves, but they can provide significant
insight into a given situation. Although the
results of qualitative research can give some
indication as to the "why", "how" and "when"
something occurs, it cannot tell us "how
often" or "how many".
It is one of the fastest and least expensive means
to discover hypotheses.
There is enormous quantity of information
available in libraries, via internet sources, in
commercial data bases, and so on.
The literature search may include newspapers,
magazines, trade literature, academic literature,
or published statistics from research organizations
or governmental agencies Census Bureau.
Example: Assume an issue is “Why are product
sales lower?” This can easily be evaluated with the
aid of published data which should indicate
“whether the issue is an “industry problem” or a
If we acknowledge the specific situation that our
company’s sales and profits are lower regardless
of the market showing an up trend, then we
must evaluate the marketing mix variables.
Example 1: A Washing machine producing firm
feels that its share of the market is decreasing
whereas the overall industry is thriving.
Example 2: As a result of a trade restriction
imposed by a country, auto exports are down and
hence sales of a company making cars for
exports is on the decline.
The above mentioned information enables you to
pinpoint the reason for declining sales.
It’s important to start with a good literature search, but at
some point it is desirable to talk to persons who are well
informed in the area being investigated.
These people could be professionals or persons outside the
Here, we don’t need questionnaire.
The approach adopted should be highly unstructured, so
that the participant can give divergent views.
to tap the knowledge and experience of individuals with
information strongly related the situation or opportunity at
Anybody with related information is a potential candidate
for a depth interview, such as existing clients, members of
the target market, executives and supervisors of the client
organization, sales representatives, suppliers, retailers, and
For example, a children’s book publisher obtained useful
information regarding a sales decline by speaking with
librarians and school teachers who revealed that increasing
numbers of people were using library facilities and possibly
buying fewer books for their children.
2. Free flowing
3. Group interview
4. Start with broad
topic and focus
in on specific
Yet another frequently used method in exploratory
research is the focus group.
In a focus group, only a few people are brought
together to study and talk over some theme of
The discussion is directed by a moderator who is in
the room with the focus group participants.
The group usually is of 8-12 persons. While choosing
these individuals, care must be taken to see that
they should have a common background and have
comparable experiences in buying.
This is certainly needed since there should not be a
conflict among the group members on the common
problems that are being talked about.
Throughout the discussion, future buying attitudes,
present buying opinion etc., are collected.
TWO-WAY FOCUS GROUP
one focus group watches another focus group and
discusses the observed interactions and conclusion
DUAL MODERATOR FOCUS GROUP
one moderator ensures the session progresses
smoothly, while another ensures that all the
topics are covered
DUELING MODERATOR FOCUS GROUP
two moderators deliberately take opposite sides
on the issue under discussion
RESPONDENT MODERATOR FOCUS GROUP
one and only one of the respondents is asked to
act as the moderator temporarily
CLIENT PARTICIPANT FOCUS GROUPS
one or more client representatives participate in
the discussion, either covertly or overtly
MINI FOCUS GROUPS
groups are composed of four or five members
rather than 6 to 12
TELECONFERENCE FOCUS GROUPS
telephone network is used
Band obsessive group
Online focus groups - computers connected via
the internet are used
INTERNET-BASED FOCUS GROUPS
Such “groups,” in which multiple respondents can
“meet” electronically via chat rooms, instant mes-
saging, Web cameras, and the like, offer
tremendous speed and cost benefits, particularly
when using an established online panel of
There are other advantages of online focus
groups, groups composed of people from far-
flung locations, to deal with sensitive topics.
less expensive - multiple respondents are
handled simulta- neously.
That’s not to say that they are inexpensive,
however. By the time the facility has been
rented, an experienced moderator has been
hired to conduct the session and write the
report, and incentives paid to participants, a
focus group has become costly.
And that’s just one focus group; add a series of
focus groups and the costs can really rise.
Develops rapport - helps
Listens to what people have
Everyone gets a chance to
The Role of the Moderator.
The moderator in the focus
group plays the single most
difficult—role in the process.
For one thing, the moderator
typically trans- lates the
study objectives into a
The moderator’s guidebook lists the general
(and specific) issues to be addressed during
the session, placing them in the general
order in which the topics should arise.
In general, a funnel approach is used, with
broad general topics first and then increasing
focus on the specific issues to be studied.
As the moderator, you must understand the
background of the problem and what the
client needs to learn from the research
process. Without this in- formation, it’s
impossible to develop the guidebook and
conduct a focus group effectively.
Despite their benefits, focus groups have two
Actually, moderator’s guidebook An ordered
list of the general (and speciﬁc) issues to be
addressed during a focus group; the issues
normally should move from general to
case analysis Intensive study of selected
examples of the phenomenon of interest.
As a result, other organizations have sought to
improve their own order fulfillment by bench-
marking L.L.Bean. Organizations carry out
benchmarking through activities such as reading
about other organizations, visiting or calling them,
and tak- ing apart competing products to see how
they are made.
The process of benchmarking varies according to
the information needs of the orga- nization and the
resources available. Xerox is widely credited with
the first benchmarking proj- ect in the United
For example, L.L.Bean is noted for its excellent
order fulfillment. Even during the busy Christmas
season, the company typically fills over 99 percent
of its orders cor- rectly.
In 1979, Xerox studied Japanese
competitors to learn how they could sell
mid-size copiers for less than what it
cost Xerox to make them.
Today, many companies commonly use
benchmarking as a standard research
All open-ended questions in your survey are exploratory in
The mere fact that you allow respondents to provide any
feedback they please, gives you the opportunity to gain
insights on topics you haven’t previously thought of.
Adding a few open-ended questions in surveys with large
amounts of respondents can be somewhat difficult and
time-consuming to sort through, but it can indicate
important trends and opinions for further research.
let’s say we own a news website and asked our visitors the
open-ended question, ‘What would you like to see improved
most on our website?’ After analysing the responses, we
identify the top three discussed areas: 1) Navigation, 2)
Quality of Information 3) Visual Displays. We can then use
these three topics as our main focus or research objectives
for a new survey that will look to statistically quantify
people’s issues with the website with closed-ended
Cross-sectional research design allows you to collect data from a cross-
section of a population at one point in time.
A single cross-sectional design involves only one wave or round of data
collection – data are collected from a sample on one occasion only. A
repeated cross-sectional design involves conducting more than one wave
of (more or less) the same research with an independent or fresh sample
The use of an independent sample at each round of data collection is
what distinguishes repeated cross-sectional design from longitudinal
In longitudinal research, data are collected from the same sample on
more than one occasion.
To provide data for an exploratory or descriptive research enquiry – to
understand the health information needs of older people
It can also be used to look for and examine relationships between
variables; to test out ideas and hypotheses; to help decide which
explanation or theory best fits with the data; and to help establish
causal direction but not to prove cause.
it might be used to determine what factors are involved in the decision
to take out critical illness benefit insurance, and the relationship
between the factors.
Longitudinal research involves collecting data from
the same sample (of individuals or organisations,
for example) on more than one occasion.
The number and frequency of the snapshots or data
collection points depends largely on the research
if the purpose of the research is to look at the
immediate, short-term impact of an advertising
campaign, a relatively small number of data
collection points, fairly closely spaced in time, may
suffice; to examine the longer term impact of
advertising on a brand may require a relatively large
number of data collection points over many years.
The main application of ld is to monitor changes in the
marketing or social environment, changes that occur in the
normal course of things and events that are planned,
changes as a result of an advertising campaign, a new
product launch or an election. Longitudinal design can be
used to provide data for descriptive research enquiry.
Although it cannot be used to prove cause, it can be used
1. explore and examine relationships between variables
2. establish the time order of events or changes, and age
or historical effects
3. help decide which explanation or theory best fits with
4. help establish causal direction (rather than prove
What distinguishes longitudinal designs from
repeated cross-sectional designs is that in
longitudinal designs data are collected from
the same sample on more than one occasion,
rather than from independent or fresh
samples each time.
Observational research can come in a different shapes and
sizes. In general, there are two categories: strict observation
with no interaction with the subject at all, or observation with
some level of intervention/interaction between the researcher
There are many examples of observational research. Here are a
Usability testing – Watching a subject use a prototype device is
one form of observational research. Again, this can be done with
or without intervention.
Eye Tracking –
Let’s say you have come up with a website. You might ask
people to navigate your website, and you will use eye tracking
technology to create a “heat map” of where their eyes go on the
website. This information can be used to re-design and optimize
the page elements.
Contextual Inquiry –
This is a hybrid form of research that involves interviewing
subjects as the researcher watches them work or play in their
In-Home Observation – Watching a family
member go through the morning routine in their
home might turn up useful insights into pain-
points that need solving.
In-Store Observation – Simply watching
shoppers in action is another form of
observational research. What do shoppers
notice? How do they go through a store? etc.
Mystery Shoppers – This involves hiring a
regular person to go into a store and pretend to
be an everyday shopper. They will then report
on aspects of their experience, such as store
cleanliness, politeness of staff, etc. In the case,
the mystery shopper is the researcher and the
store is the subject being observed.
The greatest benefit of this technique is that
researchers can measure actual behavior, as
opposed to user-reported behavior. That’s a
big deal, because people will often report
one thing on a survey, but behave in another
way when the rubber hits the road.
Observational research is a direct reflection
of “real life,” so these insights are often very
reliable and useful.