It’s not unusual for language translation workers who are tasked to research a topic of interest to a client to get a “that’s what you do when you’re at square number one” response when you mention the possibility of exploratory research with regard to a management problem. After all, exploratory research is often the very first step taken in the pursuit of many research efforts. When The Marketing Analysts Translations Company was tasked by a leading consumer products to evaluate a particular application of rechargeable batteries in China, their Houston Translation team began their work by applying exploratory studies to familiarize themselves with the problem situation, identify important variables, recognize alternative courses of action, suggest rewarding avenues for further research, and help establish which of these avenues should have the highest priority in competing for your limited budgetary resources. In short, exploratory studies are for the purpose of helping researchers obtain, relatively quickly, ideas and knowledge in a situation where you may be a little short on both.
However, it’s not quite fair to define an exploratory study as step 1. This type of research can be highly useful as an initial step in even the most extensive marketing research plans. As a matter of fact, a team leader with a Chicago Translation company indicates, “Failure to carry out an exploratory study may well lead to a misdirected research effort a higher research cost than would otherwise be required, or even to a lengthy research effort that wasn’t needed in the first place though generally carried out on a small scale, an exploratory study alone may well be sufficient to meet the informational need s of marketing management with regard to the problem under investigation.”
Procedurally, André Ansell, Washington D.C. French translationworker defines an exploratory study as “highly flexible, intuitive, and informal.” The creativity and judgment of the researcher are very important, since at this stage, you’re still attempting to get a “handle” on the exact nature of the problem as well as the potential usefulness of various research strategies in solving it. As a practical matter, you may have to resist some pressure from others to cut short the exploratory phase (remember that it’s often perceived as the “we’re at square one” degree of progress) and get on with the “actual” study. While the inherent flexibility of the exploratory study precludes setting forth firm procedural guidelines, there are two approaches-the literature survey and the experience survey-that can prove especially useful in exploratory research.