What is Exploratory Testing

What is Exploratory Testing?

It is an approach to software testing, simultaneous learning, test design, and test execution. Exploratory testing is a style of software testing that emphasizes the personal freedom. Also, the responsibility of the individual user to continually optimize the quality of his work by treating test-related learning, test design, test execution, and test result interpretation as mutually supportive activities that run parallel throughout the project as defined by Cem Kaner, the person who coined the term in 1984.

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Exploratory testing seeks to find out how the software works and asks a question about how it will handle uncomplicated and severe cases. The quality of the measurement depends on the skills of the tester in inventing situations and finding defects. The more the testers know about the product and various test methods, the better the testing will be.

According to Kaner and James Marcus Bach, exploratory testing is more of a mindset, a way of thinking about testing than methodology. They also said that it crosses a continuum from slightly exploratory (slightly ambiguous, or vaguely scripted testing) to highly exploratory (freestyle exploratory testing).



The main advantage of exploratory testing is that we only need a little preparation, finding essential bugs quickly, and at the execution time. The approach tends to be more intellectually stimulating than that of the execution of scripted tests.

Another advantage is that the testers can use deductive reasoning based on the results of previous results to guide their future testing on the fly. Also, it accelerates bug detection when used intelligently.

One more advantage is after initial testing, the discovery of most bugs by exploratory testing.


The disadvantages are that tests that were invented and performed on the fly cannot be reviewed in advance. Also, it can be challenging to show that at this, which tests have been run.

Freestyle exploratory tests are unlikely to be executed in precisely the same manner when revisited. Thus, which in return can be an advantage when looking for new errors; or a disadvantage if it is more important to repeat specific details of earlier tests.

mutation testing


Scientific studies show that while scripted and exploratory test results in similar defect detection effectiveness. The reason, we spend no effort on pre-designing the test cases. Observational study on exploratory testers showed that the use of knowledge about the domain, the system under test, and the customer is an essential factor. This is in order to explain the effectiveness of exploratory testing.


The exploratory test is particularly suitable if requirements and specifications are not complete; or if there is a lack of time. The approach might also verify that the previous testing has found the most critical defects.

The Verdict

Now that the facts, most of it if not all, of exploratory testing have been put out there, users who want to test if the software they are using has defects will not find it confusing as to how it works and what it is.

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