For experimentation, these purposes include:
(2) Discovery and invention of new phenomena and relations
(3) Confirmation of previous assumptions, expectations and hypothesis
(4) Generation of ideas for further useful experiments
(5) Keeping the experimenter relevantly occupied while he thinks.
Comparable objectives in analysis are:
(2) To find unanticipated aspects of the data, and to suggest unthought-of models for the data?s summarization ?
(3) To employ the data to assess the (always incomplete) adequacy of the contemplated model
(4) To provide both incentives and guidance for further analysis of the data
(5) To keep the investigator usefully stimulated while he absorbs the feeling of his data and considers what to do next.
As you all know, Tukey coined the termed exploratory data analysis. He was also an early advocate of using the computer for interactive visualization.