Table of Contents

Handbook of Qualitative Research Techniques and Analysis in Entrepreneurship

Handbook of Qualitative Research Techniques and Analysis in Entrepreneurship

Research Handbooks in Business and Management series

Edited by Helle Neergaard and Claire Leitch

This insightful Handbook introduces a variety of qualitative data collection methods and analysis techniques pertinent in exploring the complex phenomenon of entrepreneurship. Detailed and practical accounts of how to conduct research employing verbal protocol analysis, critical incident technique, repertory grids, metaphors, and the constant comparative method are provided. Scholars new to the area, doctoral students, as well as established academics keen to extend their research scope, will find this book an invaluable and timely resource.

Chapter 8: The efficacy of the qualitative variant of the critical incident technique (CIT) in entrepreneurship research

Claire M. Leitch and Frances M. Hill

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


In this chapter we reflect on our approach to conducting good quality interpretivist research using the qualitative variant of the CIT which we employed as the sole data collection method in the third phase of a research study that focused on women seeking external finance for the businesses they owned and led in Northern Ireland (for an account of the research conducted in phase 1 and phase 2 see Hill et al. 2006). The project initially had been prompted by the findings of a prior investigation, which had revealed that the most significant difficulties for women-owned/led businesses in meeting their objectives were finance-related (O’Reilly 2005). In particular, concerns about the availability and cost of overdraft facilities and external finance for growth, that is, finance provided by banks, venture capitalists, business angels and development agencies and not provided by ‘family, friends or fools’ or by bootstrapping, had been reported. Phase 1 of our research focused on the supply of finance to business owners in general, and to women business owners in particular (Hill et al. 2006). The second phase addressed a number of conceptual and methodological shortcomings of existing research into the financing of women-owned/led businesses (for example, Ahl 2004; Read 1998). In both of these phases we employed two semi-structured interview schedules to gather data.

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