Explanatory research is done for a problem that was not well investigated before. It demands priorities, generates operational definitions, and provides a better researched model. The researcher starts with a general idea and uses research as a tool that could lead to topics to be covered in the future to come.

Their goal is to provide details where there is a small amount of information for a given product in mind for that researcher. To begin your research, you must create a research outline to present your research idea while writing a research proposal.

What is the purpose of the Explanatory Investigation?

Explanatory research is carried out to identify the scope and nature of cause and effect relationships. Explanatory research can be performed to assess the impacts of specific changes to existing standards, various processes, etc.

It focuses on analyzing a specific situation or problem to explain the patterns of relationships between variables. Experiments are the most popular primary data collection methods in studies with explanatory research design.

This is where a researcher has an idea or has observed something and seeks to understand more about it. An exploratory research project is an attempt to establish preliminary work that will lead to future studies or to determine if what is being observed could be explained by a currently existing theory.

When should we use this type of research?

When the focus is on cause-effect relationships, the study can be explanatory. It is used when our concern is based on how one variable affects, or is responsible for, changes in another variable. In this regard, it should be considered when we are more interested in understanding, explaining, predicting and controlling the relationships between variables than we are in detecting causes. Explanatory studies go beyond description and attempt to explain the reasons for the phenomenon that only descriptive study was observed. In an explanatory study, the researcher uses theories or hypotheses to represent the forces that caused a certain phenomenon to occur.

Types of explanatory research

Literature Search: A literature search is one of the fastest and least expensive means of discovering hypotheses and providing information on the topic we are studying.

In-depth interview:The literature search is a good start, but it would be preferable to speak to a person who is knowledgeable about the specific topic you are studying. These people can be professors or people from outside the university.

Focus groups:Another method used is the gathering of people who have a common goal and have information about the specific problem at hand. The focus group can have 8-12 members.

Análisis de casos: Los investigadores pueden comprender y abordar el problema de manera más eficiente al tratar los casos cuidadosamente seleccionados o los casos del fenómeno.

Components of the Explanatory Research

Time sequence: The cause must occur before the effect. For example, it would not be appropriate to credit the increase in sales to rebranding efforts if the increase had started before the rebrand.

Concomitant variation: The variation must be systematic between the two variables. For example, if a company does not change its employees' training and development practices, changes in customer satisfaction cannot be caused by employee training and development.

Non-spurious association: Any covariation between a cause and an effect must be true and not simply due to another variable. In other words, there shouldn't be a "third factor" that relates to both.

Purpose of the Explanatory Research

Increasing understanding: The purpose of explanatory research is to increase an investigator's understanding of a given topic. It does not provide conclusive results due to a lack of statistical strength, but it does allow the researcher to determine how and why things happen.

Source flexibility:Secondary sources, such as literature or published data, are commonly used in this type of research. We should be careful in choosing a scope from unbiased sources to give a broad and balanced understanding of the topic.

Better conclusions: Explanatory research can be very advantageous in directing later research approaches. A deep understanding of the topic allows the researcher to refine subsequent research questions and can greatly enhance the usefulness of study findings.

Why do we need explanatory research?

Explanatory research allows the researcher to provide an in-depth look at a specific topic. This gives birth to more subjects and provides more opportunities for researchers to study and question new things.

In-depth study of subjects creates a cycle, and critical thinking of the subject creates more questions, and those questions lead to more ways for researchers to study more things related to that topic.

Challenges of this type of research

Bias information:You can set information and interpretations that can sometimes lead to banal information.

Useless samples: It makes samples of modest numbers that could not be for a specific type of audience.

Explanatory research in modern society

Exploratory investigations are usually conducted when a problem is not obviously characterized. It allows the student to become familiar with the topic or idea to be examined, and possibly create theories to test his hypothesis.

Explanatory research can be immensely valuable to social research. They are vital when an agent is breaking new ground, and they typically pass new data on an investigation point.

Comparative analysis with descriptive research

The amount of information the researcher has in mind determines what type of research should be used to obtain better results. With only vague ideas in mind, it would be good for the researcher to go to explanatory research. On the other hand, the quantitative data allow the researcher to carry out descriptive investigations that lead to unearthing specific relationships. Explanatory research should be carried out first and then use that collected information that is required for descriptive research.

Descriptive research, being of a quantitative nature, is not efficient for open questions. Instead, explanatory research can answer these questions more efficiently. In the same way, research is more flexible compared to descriptive research. Descriptive research uses tools such as mean, average, median, and frequency. On the other hand, explanatory research allows the researcher to use tools that are more qualitative in nature.

Examples of explanatory research

Here are some titles as an example, of theses that may qualify within the explanatory research:

Evaluate the impacts of foreign direct investment on the levels of economic growth in Panama.

Analyze the effects of brand change initiatives on customer loyalty levels.

Identify the nature of the impact of reengineering the work process on employee motivation levels.

Advantages of explanatory research

Causal studies can play an instrumental role in terms of identifying the reasons behind a wide range of processes, as well as evaluating the impact of changes in existing norms.

Causal studies generally offer the advantages of replication if the need arises.

These types of studies are associated with higher levels of internal validity due to the systematic selection of subjects.

Disadvantages of explanatory research

Coincidences in events can be perceived as cause and effect relationships. For example, Punxatawney Phil was able to forecast the length of winter for five consecutive years. However, it is a rodent without prognostic powers, that is, it was a coincidence.

It may be difficult to reach appropriate conclusions based on the results of the causal investigation. This is due to the impact of a wide range of factors and variables. In other words, although it can be inferred, it cannot be proved with a high level of certainty.

In certain cases, while the correlation between two variables can be established effectively; Identifying which variable is a cause and what the impact can be a difficult task to accomplish.

If you have any questions, contact us. In the Online-tesis.com team, we will be happy to help you.


Explanatory research is a type of research that is a pillar of other types of researchers. Before starting work on our next investigation, you should always do an explanatory investigation first. Without it the research would be incomplete and not as efficient. Explanatory research works to give research design a better focus and significantly limits any information about unintended bias.

Explanatory research is not used to give us any conclusive evidence, but rather helps us understand the problem more efficiently. When conducting research, the researcher must be able to adapt to the new data and to the new perception that he discovers as he studies the subject.

It is not intended to provide final and conclusive answers to research questions, but does allow the researcher to explore research at a variable level of depth.

It can even help you decide your scan setup, test philosophy, and information gathering strategy. Research allows the researcher to address such problems where no research has been done.

Bibliographic References

Padua J. (1982). Técnicas de Investigación. México: FCE-Colegio de México .

Sabino, C. (1996). El Proceso de Investigación. Buenos Aires: Edit. Lumen.

Salkind, N. (1999). Métodos de Investigación. México: Prentice Hall.


Explanatory Research

Importance of Explanatory Research

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