Longitudinal panel studies of large, random samples of business start-ups captured at the pre-operational stage allow researchers to address core issues for entrepreneurship research, namely, the processes of creation of new business ventures as well as their antecedents and outcomes. Here, we perform a methods-orientated review of all 83 journal articles that have used this type of data set, our purpose being to assist users of current data sets as well as designers of new projects in making the best use of this innovative research approach. Our review reveals a number of methods issues that are largely particular to this type of research. We conclude that amidst exemplary contributions, much of the reviewed research has not adequately managed these methods challenges, nor has it made use of the full potential of this new research approach. Specifically, we identify and suggest remedies for context-specific and interrelated methods challenges relating to sample definition, choice of level of analysis, operationalization and conceptualization, use of longitudinal data and dealing with various types of problematic heterogeneity. In addition, we note that future research can make further strides towards full utilization of the advantages of the research approach through better matching (from either direction) between theories and the phenomena captured in the data, and by addressing some under-explored research questions for which the approach may be particularly fruitful.
Small Business Economics – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 11, 2011
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