In an exploratory essay the writer first tells of their question and its complexity. It is important to pose a problem that is not yet answered and carry the reader along in their mental questioning, keeping the tension of a sought after answer in mind throughout the essay. The essay itself does not need to give the reader the ultimate solution, but might just create more thought toward the said problem. "Your goal is not to answer your question but to report on the process of wrestling with it" (Allyn and Bacon 109).
The writer then gives us the opportunity of seeing alternative ways of looking at the situation. In doing this, the reader's perception can be expanded beyond just their own personal opinion, and the writer can also go beyond his/her own ideas as well. "The essential move for exploratory thinking and writing is to keep a problem alive through consideration of multiple solutions or points of view" (Allyn and Bacon 107).
In writing exploratory essays it is important to "show how you chose sources purposefully and reflectively rather than randomly" (Allyn and Bacon 109). This entails showing the reader our logical thought processes as we research our question topic. This can also include exposing our sources and the how one part of our research chronologically leads to a subsequent path of searching for our answer.