Researching Entrepreneurship

Posted: 4 Nov 2009

See all articles by Per Davidsson

Per Davidsson

Queensland University of Technology - Brisbane Graduate School of Business

Date Written: 2004


This book surveys issues of methodology forconducting research into entrepreneurship, especially dealing with empiricalresearch and design. Its target audience is college and university coursesfocusing on entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship research, and supplementsmore general social science research texts. Chapter one defines entrepreneurship as the "competitive behaviors thatdrive the market process." This approach emphasizes behavior, outcomes,discovery and exploitation, and the market context; it portraysentrepreneurship as a micro-level phenomenon with aggregate effects. Chapter two emphasizes the distinction between entrepreneurship as a socialphenomenon and a research domain. Entrepreneurship must study the processes ofemergence of real new business ventures (completed or not), acrossorganizational contexts. Chapter three argues that theories give research longer life and morerelevance; they guide experimental design and interpretation of results. Onecan use a pure theory text or an eclectic framework. Chapter four surveys general experimental design issues: research can bequalitative or quantitative, and based on data from laboratory or real life.Research should be conducted on different levels of analysis and use concurrentresearch; longitudinal research is preferred. Chapter five surveys sampling viewed from the perspective of theory-drivensocial science research (obtaining data from a sample that is theoreticallyrelevant). Discussed are sampling individuals, new ventures, firms, industries(populations), spatial units, and other units of analysis. Chapter six discusses operational issues, including levels of measurement,validity, reliability, and issues relating to new, emerging ventures. Chapterseven shows that it is possible to develop a useful, credible dataset fromsecondary data. Chapter eight discusses treating job creation as a dependentvariable, chapter nine urges the importance of replicating empirical research,and chapter ten shows how the researcher’s choice of perspective onentrepreneurship influences choice and application of analysis methods.(TNM)

Keywords: Research methods, Datasets, Measurement techniques, Academic research, Theories, Methodologies, Research design, Research methods

Suggested Citation

Davidsson, Per, Researching Entrepreneurship (2004). University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership Historical Research Reference in Entrepreneurship. Available at SSRN:

Per Davidsson (Contact Author)

Queensland University of Technology - Brisbane Graduate School of Business ( email )

+61 7 3864 2051 (Phone)
+61 7 3864 1299 (Fax)


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