Handbook of Research Methods on Social Entrepreneurship

Handbook of Research Methods on Social Entrepreneurship

Elgar original reference

Edited by Richard Seymour

Defining ‘social entrepreneurship’ has in the past proved problematic, and debate continues concerning what it does and does not entail and encompass. This unique book frames the debates surrounding the phenomenon and argues that many of the difficulties relating to the study of social entrepreneurship are rooted in methodological issues. Highlighting these issues, the book sets out ideas and implications for researchers using alternative methodologies.


Richard G. Seymour

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, research methods in business and management, social entrepreneurship, development studies, development economics, social entrepreneurship, economics and finance, development economics, politics and public policy, social entrepreneurship, research methods, research methods in business and management


Richard G. Seymour Research, to abuse a popular saying, was not meant to be easy. Undertaking research is a complex task requiring skills and proficiency in data collection, management, analysis and reporting, not to mention the associated and supporting research fundraising and dissemination. Research projects can be further complicated by the complex nature of the phenomenon and activities studied, with messy and unorganised data requiring a kind of ‘rummaging’ process to complement these ‘organising’ processes mentioned above. In the case of social entrepreneurship research, these compounding factors are significant. Furthermore, in practice the term ‘social entrepreneurship’ is being inconsistently (though increasingly) used. For example: the President of the United States of America (USA), Barack Obama, used the term to express how he hoped to support small non-profit organisations. The Director of Social Enterprise at the Centre for Social Impact, Cheryl Kernot, used the term to describe a recent acquisition of government-funded childcare centres by a syndicate of Australian charities. The leader of the (then) opposition British Conservative Party, David Cameron, used the term in a call to mainstream business to focus on quality and community. The recent announcement of the Australian of the Year highlights the morphing concepts: 2011 Australian of the Year, Simon McKeon. Described as a social entrepreneur and philanthropist, he has made a name for himself in helping community causes. The previous recipients of Australian of the Year have been philanthropists, sports champions, business figures and activists. The 2011 Australian of the Year has all of these...