The Entrepreneurship Research Challenge
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The Entrepreneurship Research Challenge

Per Davidsson

Entrepreneurship is an emerging, dynamic and to a considerable extent, unpredictable phenomenon. Thus, it makes for a challenging research subject. In this book, one of the most experienced empiricists in this field has collected some of his most important ideas on how improved conceptualization and research design can make this challenge more manageable.
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Chapter 6: Method Challenges and Opportunities in the Psychological Study of Entrepreneurship

Per Davidsson


* INTRODUCTION As the title suggests this chapter will discuss a number of method issues that researchers face when doing psychological research on the elusive but important phenomenon we call ‘entrepreneurship’. To get our bearings right, I should explain upfront that these issues will be discussed from the perspective of a researcher who has extensive experience of empirical entrepreneurship research on different levels of analysis and using different theoretical points of departure – including psychological studies on the individual level – but with limited formal training in psychology. While I can claim some expertise as an entrepreneurship researcher and took my PhD in a unit for economic psychology in a business school, I am not a psychologist. My knowledge of psychology is, like an archipelago of islands separated by unknown waters and there is, therefore, the risk that I am naive or ignorant at times regarding how research problems and opportunities appear from the perspective of psychology proper. What I can offer in return are multidisciplinary and method insights within the specific domain of entrepreneurship research that do not necessarily come with standard research training in psychology. The topic I address is too broad to be covered exhaustively in a single chapter, and the selection of specific issues is admittedly colored by my experience and preferences. It should also be noted that while some of the challenges brought up are decidedly specific to entrepreneurship, others have much broader applicability. In terms of organization the chapter will cover...

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