Handbook of Qualitative Research Techniques and Analysis in Entrepreneurship
Show Less

Handbook of Qualitative Research Techniques and Analysis in Entrepreneurship

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.
Buy Book in Print
Show Summary Details
You do not have access to this content

Chapter 7: Researching the entrepreneurial process using the critical incident technique

Elizabeth Chell


The critical incident technique (CIT) was first used in a scientific study over half a century ago (Flanagan 1954). The significance of this time span is that then the assumption of a functionalist or positivist approach to social science investigations was largely unquestioned. It was the dominant paradigm in the social sciences as it was in the natural sciences (Burrell and Morgan 1979; Pittaway 2000). However, in 1998 I began to consider how CIT might be utilized from a phenomenological perspective (Chell 1998, 2004). This means that there are two variants of the CIT, each to be applied to the research problematic as appropriate. In this chapter I revisit and update my thinking on the use of CIT both in theory and practice. In my previous application of the CIT, I focused on understanding those critical issues that impacted strategic decision-making for business development at any stage of the development process. An important consideration was to understand the circumstances, context and situation that led to crystallization of the decision. This is still an important part of the research. However, in this chapter I intend to narrow the use of the CIT so that its use for theory building and testing is clarified. To achieve this objective I shall apply the technique to investigating the entrepreneurial process of opportunity recognition (Shane and Venkataraman 2000; Chiasson and Saunders 2005; Sarason et al. 2006; Chell 2008).

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information

or login to access all content.