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Usage Of Exploratory And Non-Directional Verbs In Research

The purpose of an exploratory verb in research is to clarify what lies ahead. It informs the readers about the emerging ideas and designs in the research. An exploratory verb removes obscurity and elucidates the research’s clear purpose and direction. On the other hand, Non-directional verbs are those verbs in research that do not specify a clearly stated relationship. These verbs do not state whether the outcome of an action or strategy will be positive or negative. These verbs make an assumption or supposition about the existence of a relationship between variables without elaborating.

Exploratory and Non-directional verbs are essential in formulating research questions and hypotheses. Exploratory verbs in research describe the emerging research design language, such as:

  • Using the exploratory verb discover, the reader will know that the study design is based on grounded theory.
  • For ethnographic study designs, researchers use exploratory verbs such as seek to understand
  • Explore a process signifies that there the study design is based on a case study
  • Using the verb “describe” to demonstrate that the study might be related to phenomenology or interpretative studies
  • The exploratory word “report” might signify that the study is based on narrative research.

The above-mentioned exploratory verbs are more common in qualitative research than in quantitative research. Non-directional exploratory verbs are in sharp contrast to directional verbs such as effect, influence, impact, determine and relate. In case you are facing any issues, you can get PhD dissertation help for your research.

What Is The Purpose Of An Exploratory Verb In Research?

An exploratory verb is essential in qualitative research. Researchers use signposts to guide the reader through the research. In qualitative studies, exploratory verbs are more common. Exploratory verbs inform the readers about the study design. In a qualitative approach, the researcher stipulates research questions rather than objectives. It is opposite to particular research goals or hypotheses, such as estimations encompassing variables and statistical measures.

The exploratory nature of qualitative research necessitates employing exploratory verbs. Qualitative research aims to investigate the intricate features encompassing a phenomenon. The primary research question is broad in qualitative research. It stipulates the necessity of investigating the study’s research paradigm or premise. In keeping with the developing methodological approach at this stage of qualitative research, the inquirer poses this question because of the exploratory nature of qualitative studies. So, exploratory verbs help outline that the research’s study design is exploratory.

Exploratory Verbs In Different Qualitative Studies

The usage of exploratory verbs in qualitative research varies accordingly:

  • Ethnographic research

Ethnographic questions seek to explore and discover the experiences of people living in a particular place. It aims to understand the significance of the language and culture of specific people.   The research questions in critical ethnography develop along the way. Researchers draw inferences from a pool of existing literature. Research questions in ethnographic research are exploratory. They serve as the research guidelines rather than something that needs to be proved. So, it is essential to use exploratory verbs in ethnographic studies.

  • Phenomenological Research

In phenomenology, researchers devise broad questions without relating them to the current literature. In phenomenological studies, exploratory language seeks to investigate people’s experiences. Researchers also want to learn about the contexts of a particular situation, so they use exploratory verbs.

  • Grounded Theory Research

In grounded theory research, researchers aim to develop a foundational theory of a phenomenon. For example, it can be an inquiry about how upper management and lower staff interact in a management setting. Exploratory language in grounded research seeks an explanation of the particular instance. It also tries to understand the thematic implications.

The purpose of exploratory verbs in qualitative research is to formulate such research questions that express an open and evolving research design. It is contrary to the cause-and-effect implications of directional verbs. Directional verbs are common in quantitative research that seeks to test a hypothesis and prove or disprove the theories. Exploratory questions in qualitative research elucidate the developing stance of the researcher.

What Is The Purpose Of The Non-Directional Verb In Research?

Non-directional verbs, unlike directional verbs, do not indicate a clear relationship between ideas. Non-directional verbs are helpful in writing qualitative study designs. Qualitative research questions generally ask one or two key questions. Three to five sub-questions follow these questions. Several sub-questions follow each general core question. The sub-questions narrow the focus of the study while leaving the questioning open. This technique in exploratory studies sets the tone and direction of the research along the way. The purpose of qualitative studies is to discover and explore the phenomenon. So, researchers use non-directional verbs to facilitate the process.

Non-directional verbs in research help determine the nature of formulated hypotheses. Non-directional verbs do not clearly state the relationship between variables. These verbs rather convey an assumed relationship. A non-directional hypothesis is the opposite of a directional hypothesis. Non-directional hypothesis anticipates a transition, connection, or difference between the two variables. Non-directional verbs in non-directional hypotheses do not state whether the change, correlation, or variation is positive or negative. Researchers utilize non-directional language in research that encourages rather than inhibits answers from their participants.

How To Use Exploratory And Non-Directional Verbs In Research?

You can use exploratory verbs in formulating the research questions, such as:

  • Generate
  • Discover
  • Understand
  • Describe
  • Explore

Example 1: This study aims to understand the perceptions of janitorial workers regarding the work environment in corporate organizations.

Example 2: The purpose of this study is to discover the underlying elements of the political structures of Aztec civilization.

Example 3: This study aims to explore the mental health of people affected during the pandemic in Upper Wes Side Manhattan.


In research, the function of an exploratory verb is to clarify what comes next. It establishes the idea of the study’s developing suggestions. An exploratory verb summarises the meaning and goals of research by discarding ambiguity. In research, non-directional verbs do not stipulate if the consequence of activity or technique would be favourable or unfavourable. These verbs presume or speculate about the relationship among variables without going into detail. To devise research questions and hypotheses, exploratory and non-directional verbs are needed.


Hey, I’m Chris Greenwalty, a professional author at The Academic Papers UK, based in London, UK. I’m always ready to provide students with unique, high-quality, and reliable dissertation writing service. I’m happy to share his insights with a wide audience, so don’t miss the chance to expand your horizons.

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