The Difference Between Informative Writing & Exploratory Writing
By Jason Aberdeene
, last updated March 13, 2012
Informative writing is writing that relies heavily on factual information and data, revealing this data throughout the piece. This can manifest itself in how-to articles or more complex, historical essays. Exploratory writing is an analytic form of writing that examines a particular concept or subject from a wide variety of angles. Exploratory writing often takes a broad approach to a question or topic, looking at it in as many ways as possible.
A main difference between informative writing and exploratory writing is the structure within which each type of writing exists. Exploratory writing must take the form of a larger work, such as an essay, article or critique, because it needs time to look at its thesis from numerous angles. For a piece of writing to be considered informative, it merely has to provide facts and data to the reader. As a result, an example of informative writing could be a simple news headline or blurb about a dictator being overthrown in Libya. While informative, this article would only be exploratory if it took this information and looked at it from numerous angles.
A paper could be considered an informative piece without giving any expository analysis or conclusions in the work itself. As a result, you could write a long piece about installing flooring in a home that describes each step in the process without providing any analysis on this process. By definition, this could still be considered an informative piece but not an exploratory one. For it to be exploratory, the article on flooring would have to talk about the flooring from different points of view, potentially discussing what the best type of flooring for the job is or how other types of flooring will affect the outcome of your replacement.
Informative writing is non-fiction in content and nature. While the facts in an informative piece may prove to be false or may be about fictional characters, the data is not fictive or invented by the writer. While an exploratory piece may contain informative elements, it can also indulge in abstract and unique angles of looking at a topic that may be invented or devised by the writer. This creative analysis may be supported by informative facts or not be based in reality at all.
Exploratory and Informative Writing
Often times, exploratory and informative articles are one in the same. This is a result of your exploratory piece consisting of hard and informative facts. As a result, a paper that explores the parallels between Odysseus in Homer's "The Odyssey" and Stephen Dedalus in James Joyce's "Ulysses" is potentially exploratory because of the different angles and points of views it takes in finding these and informative if it gives numerous facts and details about the characters and the history of both texts.