Handbook of Qualitative Research Methods for Family Business
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Handbook of Qualitative Research Methods for Family Business

Edited by Alfredo De Massis and Nadine Kammerlander

This timely Handbook provides a comprehensive guide to the methodological challenges of qualitative research in family business. Written by an international, multidisciplinary team of experts in the field, the Handbook provides practical guidance based on the experiences of senior researchers, and features reflective discussion on how to craft insightful, rigorous studies.
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Chapter 5: Historical methods in family business studies

Andrea Colli and Paloma Fernandez Perez


In this chapter, the authors broadly discuss the use of historical analysis and methods in family business studies. They start by providing an overview of how (business) historians have approached the topic of family ownership. In the following section, they discuss the issue of sources and their meaning and role in historical research, discussing also in detail the advantages of what they define as ‘longitudinal’ analysis. The subsequent section discusses the qualitative versus quantitative approaches in business history, while a discussion about some current topics in family business studies that would particularly benefit from a historical approach concludes the chapter.

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