Article

Choosing a Methodology for Entrepreneurial Research: A Case for Qualitative Research in the Study of Entrepreneurial Success Factors

05/2009; DOI: 10.2139/ssrn.1413015

ABSTRACT A majority of entrepreneurial success factors are directly related to the entrepreneur's human experiences. Thus, research in the field of entrepreneurial success factors is relatively new. The paper analyzes and selects one of the three operative paradigms to study entrepreneurial success factors including analytical, actors, and systems approaches. Most entrepreneurial success factors discussed in the analysis relate to human experience and thus, the best paradigmatic approach is the actors operative paradigm grounded in systems theory. The qualitative phenomenological methodology is best suited for the researcher who chooses the actors operative paradigm because it affords the researcher potential to generate the richest and most viable data set and offers the greatest potential to produce significant research outcomes. Moreover, the qualitative phenomenological method provides the researcher with greater flexibility in attaining rich data and provides a better opportunity for the researcher to develop substantial research conclusions based on real world entrepreneurial experiences (Clark, 1998; Conger, 1998; Huberman & Miles, 1994; Morgan & Smircich, 1980; Munck, 1998). In conclusion, the qualitative, phenomenological methodology combined with an actors paradigmatic approach grounded in systems theory is the best research plan for studying entrepreneurial success factors.

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