Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Entrepreneurship and Small Business

Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Entrepreneurship and Small Business

Handbooks of Research Methods and Applications series

Edited by Alan Carsrud and Malin Brännback

This thought provoking book builds on existing research traditions that make small business, entrepreneurship and family business a resource rich arena for study. It steps back to ask fundamental questions that every researcher should consider prior to engaging in data collection. It focuses on topics that have traditionally frustrated researchers including experimental methods in small business research, scale development, control variables and language issues in cross cultural research.

Chapter 3: From philosophy of science to theory testing: generating practical knowledge in entrepreneurship

Thomas P. Kenworthy and W. Edward McMullen

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, family business, research methods in business and management, research methods, research methods in business and management


Prominent entrepreneurship scholars have voiced substantial concerns over the years about intellectual progress in the discipline. The purpose of this chapter is to draw attention to several fundamental aspects of social science that require greater attention. It is suggested that a greater appreciation for philosophy of science (POS), methodology, theory and theory testing, as well as the components of practical knowledge, will offer a productive way forward. The chapter begins with a brief discussion of POS and the results of an investigation into the extent of POS training in doctoral programs. The second section outlines some problems in entrepreneurship research methodology. The third section provides instruction on how practical knowledge can be generated for practitioners, educators, policy makers and scholars. The fourth section describes theory importation behavior and offers a model that aids with scrutiny of exogenous theory. The final section synthesizes the results of testing human capital theory, shedding light on theory-testing practices and the value of the theory.

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