Edited by Helle Neergaard and Claire Leitch
Even though entrepreneurship is considered a relatively young field, research in the area has grown impressively in recent decades (Short et al. 2010). Yet, despite this expansion, entrepreneurship methods have been criticized for lacking in systematic approach (Short et al. 2010). In contrast, we argue that a complex domain such as entrepreneurship (Anderson et al. 2012; Drakopoulou Dodd et al. 2013) demands a variety of perspectives and a variety of methodologies and methods that reach beyond any sort of functional determinism, if we are to really understand the phenomenon (Anderson and Starnawska 2008). Regardless of such criticism, the field is becoming known for richness of data, indeed, often a surfeit of rich data, and we need robust techniques to make sense of these data. Qualitative research allows us to build theory that is thoughtful and robust. Increasingly this is now recognized and the special issue offered by the Journal of Business Venturing titled ‘Entrepreneurship through a qualitative lens’ supports this. It highlights how qualitative research has a long history in entrepreneurship research (Bruton et al. 2015). However, Bruton et al. (2015) also point out that in recent years the use and development of quantitative methods have far outpaced the use and development of qualitative investigations. This is a pity because for entrepreneurship researchers, qualitative work offers opportunities to build good theory.
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