It's All About the Data: Challenges and Solutions in the Study of Nascent Entrepreneurs
Vol. Volume 16 Number 2 June/2011
Steven M. Farmer
Entrepreneurship research has been criticized for a lack of methodological rigor, although evidence suggests that from a methodological perspective, it is improving (Davidsson, 2006). In this paper we systematically review the methods used in t he study of nascent entrepreneurs to identify challenges associated with the data used in these studies. We also review the field's achievements - notably, the successful use of representative sampling of populations of nascent entrepreneurs - and we raise concerns about the predominant use of secondary data sets and the use of scales originally developed for large, established firms. Drawing on methodological advancements in other fields, we offer suggestions related to study design, data collection, sampling and measurement. Although some of the challenges we note are inherent to the nature of entrepreneurship, we hope our discussions can help researchers design better studies and better interpret their findings.
Data, nascent entrepreneurs, methods, PSED, GEM