What is an exploratory essay and how to write it

An exploratory essay might seem like a challenge. In most of the essay types you will learn to write you will be encouraged to remain objective and to cite facts throughout the paper to accomplish your objective.

An exploratory essay is one in which you explore a topic through research. Think of it more as an article in The New Yorker or your favorite magazine instead of an essay and you will get it.

So, how do you write an exploratory essay? Keep these points in mind and it will be easy!

  1. In your introduction, tell the reader what they’re reading and what you hope they will accomplish.
  2. Help the reader understand the situation by setting the context.
  3. Hook the reader with a compelling statement that encourages him or her to read the essay
  4. Clearly state your research question that communicates what it is you are trying to discover in this essay.

That’s all well and good, but an example will help to clarify everything.

A great example of an exploratory essay

Assume that you are writing an exploratory essay that examines whether or not global warming has a negative effect on the nesting habits of blue jays.

In your introduction, you will explain to the reader that a correlation may exist between global warming and their nesting habits.

Explain, further, that the piece will explore research that can help to prove or disprove this possibility. This tells the reader what they’re reading and what you want to accomplish.

Continue on by explaining the current changes in the nesting habits of the species. From there, you will be able to introduce global warming as the possible culprit. That is setting the context.

Next, you will explain to the reader that it is not just the blue jay that is at risk, nor birds. If blue jays are affected by global warming, perhaps other species are at risk, too. This hooks them in with a compelling statement.

From here, you can begin to explore different research pieces on this topic. Share what you find throughout the paper in an objective fashion.

So what’s the point?

An exploratory essay is designed to not only help the reader learn and grow, but also the author. These types of essays can lead to new insights and understandings in specific fields of study.

When writing an exploratory essay do not be afraid to explore things that may seem ridiculous when first considered. You may find, while doing your research, that a correlation exists between things where there were never seen to be any before.

An exploratory essay helps us learn and grow as scholars, readers, writers, and human beings.