Handbook of Research Methods on Social Entrepreneurship
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Handbook of Research Methods on Social Entrepreneurship

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.
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Chapter 8: Surveys and Data Sets

Steven D’Alessandro and Hume Winzar


Steven D’Alessandro and Hume Winzar Surveys and large data sets are an important aspect of social entrepreneurship research and practice. Surveys and large data sets are usually an important aspect of program evaluation as well as opportunity analysis for social entrepreneurship undertakings. Large-scale surveys and data sets may also show a need for a social intervention or provide support for external funding of social entrepreneurship. Examples include the evaluation of HIV/AIDS campaigns in health (Lombardo and Leger, 2007), other health policies, promoting social development and protection of the environment (Andreasen, 1995). It is important, therefore, that researchers in social entrepreneurship have an understanding of how to conduct survey research, and how to interpret results from large data sets. This chapter provides a brief outline of survey research in the context of social entrepreneurship, along with a guide to how to conduct it. The chapter is organised as follows: it introduces the nature of surveys and their design, reviews the nature of errors in survey research and presents the different ways to conduct surveys. The chapter then details the six steps of measurement, and the nine steps of survey design. Sampling, fieldwork and editing are then introduced. Finally, the chapter gives overviews of some of the key tools of data analysis. Examples are provided throughout. 8.1 THE NATURE OF SURVEYS AND THEIR DESIGN A survey can be defined as an ordered attempt to collect information, using structured and semi-structured questions, from a representative cross-section of a particular target population. Surveys are...

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