Edited by Helle Neergaard and Claire Leitch
Chapter 8: The efficacy of the qualitative variant of the critical incident technique (CIT) in entrepreneurship research
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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