Evolving Concepts and Processes
European Research in Entrepreneurship series
Edited by Odd Jarl Borch, Alain Fayolle, Paula Kyrö and Elisabet Ljunggren
Chapter 5: Heuristic Method: Insights into a Conceptual Understanding of Women’s Entrepreneurship and Social Capital
Iiris Aaltio, Paula Kyrö and Elisabeth Sundin INTRODUCTION 1. In this chapter we examine how conceptual thinking progresses through heuristic method and enriches the conceptual understanding of the dialogue between women’s entrepreneurship and social capital. The positivistic era believed that we end up with pyramids of knowledge, but does the contribution mean some kind of accumulation of knowledge and conceptual deepening of the phenomenon that is studied as well? As we find it, the qualitative approach in particular needs a lot of conceptual pondering in order to relate to other knowledge concerning the subject (Kyrö and Kansikas, 2005). Since the contribution of the study is the main purpose of academic work, on the one hand we need to understand and investigate what is meant by a contribution, and on the other hand find a way of increasing innovativeness in providing this contribution (Aaltio, 2006: 451–4). New fields like women’s entrepreneurship benefit from ‘going to the roots of existence’. Academic research is published in special issues of journals, in conference proceedings with certain themes and as edited collections of articles in book form. The unifying element in these arenas is often loose and barely shows a relation between the approaches. Moreover, like calls for conference papers, they are meant to stimulate thought and insights around the themes presented. There is a search for progress and development in the field. It is not rare that new concepts arise and soon supersede established ones. Sometimes they are cynically called fads and fashions...
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