Exploratory Testing and How to Perform It?

Exploratory Testing and How to Perform It?

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Anshuman
Anshuman Singh
Senior Executive - Content
Updated on Oct 13, 2023 14:25 IST

In recent years, the practice of exploratory testing has received attention. The testing team and Quality assurance managers encourage exploratory testing as a component (part) of a comprehensive test coverage strategy.

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But what exactly is exploratory testing, and how to perform it? Don’t worry if you don’t know the answers to these questions. You’ve come to the right place. This article will go over everything there is to know about exploratory testing.

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What is Exploratory Testing?

Exploratory Testing Definition: Exploratory testing is an unscripted approach to software testing in which the tester is free to use any technique that the tester sees fit to test the software.

In this type of testing, testers investigate and identify alternative methods of evaluating and improving software quality rather than being constrained by the limits of scripted tests.

While performing this type of testing, testers do not use previously created test cases. Exploratory testers are free to select any possible methodology to test the software. They are free to examine a software or application without a plan or direction in mind in order to find bugs (primary goal) that users may encounter while navigating a software.

Exploratory test is done on the fly and relies on the tester to think beyond the limits of the scripted tests. This type of testing is widely used in Agile models.

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What is the Main Objective of Exploratory Testing?

The primary goal of exploratory test is to optimize and improve the software in any way possible. Another goal of this type of testing is to test the software’s features, functions, and operations while also trying to identify any technical or functional problems.

Exploratory Testing Example

Exploratory test is like driving a car on the road where you aim to reach from one place to another (A to B). But you can choose any route you want to take or the speed at which you want to travel.

In this type of testing, one thing that must be crystal clear from the very start is your goal. And, to achieve your goal, you are free to use any techniques, paths, or methods. In short, “you are free to explore.”

Types of Exploratory Testing

There are three types of exploratory testing, such as:

  • Freestyle
  • Scenario-based
  • Strategy-based
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Let’s explore each of these types in detail.

Freestyle: In this type of testing, there are no rules, and testers can choose how much or which areas have to be tested. Testers are free to use any techniques to test the function and operation of the software. This type of testing is advantageous when you need to authenticate the work of some of the other testers, investigate a defect, or perform smoke testing.

Scenario-based: In this type of testing, testers use various scenario-based testing techniques, such as real user scenarios, test scenarios, etc. Testers explore multiple possible paths while executing a scenario in this testing technique to cover a wider testing area.

Strategy-based: In this type of testing, testers combine various strategy-based testing techniques, such as boundary value analysis, risk-based, etc., with exploratory testing.This type of testing is mainly conducted by the experienced tester, who has used the software for a long time and is well aware of the software.

How to Perform Exploratory Testing?

There are no fixed steps to perform exploratory test as it depends on the tester, their knowledge of the software going to be tested, and which path they will opt for.

In order to better understand this concept, let’s take an example. Suppose you are a tester and have been assigned to check the check functionality of the Bookmark option. In order to check the functionality and find bugs (in any), you can either follow scripted tests or exploratory testing. Let’s consider both cases.

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Case1: Using Scripted Tests

In this, you will follow the steps mentioned. But what if you cannot find any functionality issues or bugs in this testing? So, to double-check, you decided to perform exploratory testing.

Case2: Conducting exploratory testing

Suppose you want to check what will happen if you keep the bookmark name field blank and try to save it. Or, you decided to click on edit, remove the data from the name field, and then click on Remove. The application may crash because of this.

So, there are no specific steps to perform this type of testing. It all depends on the person conducting it and which testing type he plans to use. All that matters is that tester should keep their goal clear.

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Advantages

Some of the advantages of conducting exploratory tests are:

  • Requires less preparation in order to conduct the testing
  • Helps in identifying bugs or defects that were not caught during scripted testing
  • Allows testers to use any method or technique they may see fit
  • Allows to test the software when required documents are not available or partially available
  • Encourages creative thinking, intuition, and the generation of new ideas for testing software

Disadvantages

Some of the disadvantages of conducting exploratory tests are:

  • Testing may take a lot of time.
  • Testing depends on the person who is testing the software/application.
  • It is difficult to replicate the failure.
  • Choosing the best test cases to run can take time and effort.
  • It is difficult to document all events that occur during execution.

Conclusion

Exploratory tests are conducted by exploring the application/software and verifying its functionality and operations in order to find defects or bugs. 

In this testing, testers are free to choose any method or technique they see fit, but they have to keep the testing goal in mind. Overall, in software testing, testers conduct an exploratory tests to overcome the challenges of the preplanned (scripted) tests, improve the test case suite, and emphasize learning and adaptability.

FAQs

What is exploratory testing?

Exploratory testing is an unscripted approach in which the tester can use any technique that the testeru00a0sees fit to test the software. In this testing, simultaneous learning, test design, and execution is carried out by the tester.

How many exploratory testing types are there?

There are three exploratory testing types: Freestyle, Scenario-based, and Strategy based.

Why do we do exploratory testing?

The primary goal of exploratory testing is to optimize and improve the software in any way possible. Another goal of this type of testing is to test the software's features,u00a0functions,u00a0and operations while also trying to identify any technical or functional problems.

Is exploratory testing manual testing?

Yes. Exploratory testing is a form of manual testing that relies on the tester's intuition and experience rather than scripts.

About the Author
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Anshuman Singh
Senior Executive - Content

Anshuman Singh is an accomplished content writer with over three years of experience specializing in cybersecurity, cloud computing, networking, and software testing. Known for his clear, concise, and informative wr... Read Full Bio