Organizing an Exploratory Essay
This resource will help you with exploratory/inquiry essay assignments.
Contributors: Allen Brizee
Last Edited: 2010-04-17 05:44:38
Exploratory essays are very different from argumentative essays. In fact, an exploratory essay is likely different from any other essay you’ve written. Instead of writing to convince an audience of the validity of a thesis, you will be writing to find out about a problem and perhaps to form some preliminary conclusions about how it might be solved.
But there is another aspect the exploratory genre that is equally important. An exploratory essay is, in essence, a retrospective of your writing and thinking process as you work through a problem. It describes when, how, and why you completed certain types of research. This kind of writing is about how you work through problems that require writing and research. You will have to be introspective and think about your thinking process in order for your essay to turn out well.
Very roughly, then, your exploratory essay may follow this sort of structure:
The introduction should outline the problem you explored and why it’s important. In addition, you should briefly discuss 1) some of the problem’s possible causes; 2) the institutions and people involved with the problem; 3) some of the possible solutions to the problem. A brief overview of the types of sources your researched during your inquiry.
Body paragraphs should discuss the inquiry process you followed to research your problem. These paragraphs should include the following:
- Introduction of source (title, author, type of media, publisher, publication date, etc.) and why you chose to use it in your exploration
- Important information you found in the source regarding your problem
- Why the information is important and dependable in relation to the problem
- Some personal introspection on how the source helped you, allowed you to think differently about the problem, or even fell short of your expectations and led you in a new direction in your research, which forms a transition into your next source.
The conclusion should restate the problem you explored, outline some of its possible causes, review the institutions and people involved, and highlight some possible solutions. If you still have any questions about the problem (and it’s ok to have some), you will discuss them here. Talk about why you think you still have questions regarding the problem you explored, where you might look to answer these questions, and what other forms of research you would have to do.
5 Tips For Writing An Introduction For An Exploratory Essay
An exploratory essay is meant to explore a certain problem; the issues surrounding it and to analyze the data until you reach a conclusion or a solution. It's not similar to the essays that you usually write, but the elements that come with this paper are identical to others. Do not forget about the particularities of this type of essay and do not confuse it with an explanatory essay, which is a complete different type. To start your paper in successful way and to leave a good impression from the very begging, read these tips:
- Make your introduction informative. In the first lines, you need to explain to the reader what are your writing about and a few short ideas that you will explore in your content. If you are writing about a social problem, you can write what made you focus on that matter or what inspired you.
- Make it engaging. Since it is the first element that your professor will read, it need to be engaging and to provoke him to read further. The language that you use must be academic, but to show excitement at the same time. If you start writing on a positive note, the rest will follow the same.
- Mention some of the research methods that you used. Even if it’s not good to get into too much detail, you still need to mention what methods you used to reach your conclusion. This does not mean that you will write the name of books that you read or people that you quoted.
- Write the expected result or conclusion. Even if it is the introduction, the reader needs to know what to expect when he is reading your paper. What is the purpose of this text, what are you trying to analyze and why? You need to answer these questions in your first paragraphs.
- Keep it short. Many students want to make a great piece, and they tend to integrate more information than it is necessary. An acceptable introduction does not have more than ten lines or two, three paragraphs, and it is very well connected to the rest of the essay. What is over this limit will be considered as part of the composition itself, and this can be very confusing to your teacher? Be short and concise and do not try to expose your opinion from the very beginning.