In a scientific exploration you might not have preconceptions, but you still make assumptions. For example you might be looking for relationships between the planets correlated to some world events like market prices and you don't care what relationships you find. There's still an assumption or hypothesis that you might find some.
What’s missing in exploration is not assumptions but theory, and this is intentional. Someone once saw something weird out there that just didn't make normal sense, and you’re going hunting for it and others like it. It doesn't bother you that it doesn't make sense.
The interesting findings you make, if they are consistent but without theory, are anomalies.
But all astrology, as it has been handed down to us with all its concepts, may be an anomaly, or maybe not. If we agree on mapping principles then we have paradigms and structure, and we can build theories, but of course these theories need to be reliable.
Let’s say we've found anomalies. Either they fit a theory (and are predictably reliable), or they are nothing.
If we don't think these anomalies we’ve found are nothing, because we've found a lot of them, then we'd better think of ways to show that the findings are reliable and predictable. Can we replicate? Can we compare to a control, either physical controls or simulated controls created by shifting the appropriate pieces of data? Can we rank the findings based on eminence, severity, affinity, etc. to see if there is a rule, mathematical function, or a constant that supports it?
If we have an astrological finding that is reliable and predictable (replicable, independent of controls, and co-varies in strength with known factors) then the finding is not an anomaly. It’s a "response," "species," "pattern" or "effect."
It is confusing to some people to say something is an "effect" when effects are taken to be direct and strong physical influences and not just statistical tendencies, and so they have problems with astrology. An effect is not the same as a theory because a theory needs to explain why the effect happens as a feature of nature.
What normally happens with unexpected effects is to embrace the weird by building theory that is consistent with our various effects and our original paradigmatic principles. The findings of these effects might never stop being weird but the effects would begin to make normal sense, at least to some people.
Astrological theory might be different than current standard physical theory, or it might be an extension of it. For example, if we live in a fractal universe, which implies patterns with a mathematical function, then we should have no problem considering such astrological concepts as synchronicity and cosmic symmetry. In a fractal universe, there could be some conceivable cause and effect relationship in astrology through the operation of fractal functionality, which may determine some behaviors, such as planetary movements, but only govern but not determine other behaviors, such as the lives of people as well as the lives of non-living and non-physical entities, which traditional astrology concerns itself with, but standard theory does not.