4 Tips for Writing an Exploratory Essay

Exploratory essays are one of many types of papers that you might have to write during your college career. They are not a particularly difficult type of paper to write, but they are a far cry from the typical essay where you choose a topic or thesis and develop an argument to discuss in the body of your paper. Follow these four tips to write a good exploratory essay.

  1. Know what an exploratory paper is
  2. This is a very obvious tip, but if you don't know what an exploratory paper is, how can you possibly write one. Like the name suggests, an exploratory essay involves exploring a particular topic or work of text. The point of the paper isn't to prove an argument. The point is to take a topic or question and discuss many different aspects, positions, or opinions. You still need to choose a topic, but you won't need to focus on finding answers or proving a point.

  3. Brainstorm ideas
  4. The exploratory is the perfect type of essay where it really helps to sit down with a pad of paper and write all of the ideas that come to mind. Don't just take a question and try to answer it. Do just write down everything you can think of that pertains to your question. With an exploratory essay your goal is to write a paper that reflects a number of different views and thoughts on your subject.

  5. Organize your thoughts
  6. With an exploratory essay it is very easy to get off track with your paper. You do not get to have a jumbled and disorganized paper just because you aren't directly answering a question or making an argument. To prevent this from happening, I would suggest making an outline before you begin writing. Trust me, with this type of paper you can truly benefit from the little bit of extra time it takes to organize your thoughts and jot down a quick outline. Your paper will flow much better and it will save you time writing and editing as well.

  7. Start with the superficial then move to the deep issues
  8. Start out with your most basic reflections on your topic, then progress to more substantive issues. This will help lend your paper organization and also illustrate how your thought process developed throughout the process of your exploratory essay. At the end of the paper, make sure to come to a conclusion that summarizes what you found while exploring your topic. Your conclusion should reflect the way your thoughts and perspectives have evolved and draw something meaningful from the process.