Handbooks of Research Methods and Applications series
Edited by Alan Carsrud and Malin Brännback
Chapter 2: Thoughts on the challenge of empirical research in entrepreneurship
My reason for writing this chapter is that I believe entrepreneurship is one of the most important, impactful and beneficial activities being undertaken in the world today and, relative to its impact, one of the least understood. This is particularly true at the venture level. Economists are advancing our understanding of entrepreneurship at the macro level, but at the level of the venture we are still struggling. What actions increase or reduce a venture's odds of success? What type of environment nurtures ventures? How do ventures emerge? How do we prepare entrepreneurs for their career? We have a very hard time answering these basic questions. One of the reasons for this is that it is extremely difficult to design and execute a good empirical study of entrepreneurial ventures. Here I wish to provide guidance to doctoral students and young researchers about how to undertake empirical research on entrepreneurial firms, how to design an empirical research project that has the potential to provide significant insights into firm-level entrepreneurial phenomena and how to build a successful career by pursuing empirical research in entrepreneurship. I draw on over 20 years of trying and occasionally succeeding in developing credible empirical studies of entrepreneurial firms and my experience as a reviewer for numerous entrepreneurship and strategy journals.
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