Higgins, David, McGowan, Pauric and Trehan, Kiran (2013) Celebrating Entrepreneurial & Small Firm research - embracing qualitative research philosophies and methods. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research, 19 (4). ISSN 1355-2554

Over the last decade Entrepreneurship and Small Firm Research (Entre/SME) has become a popular field of inquiry with a growing research community (Welter, 2011; Wiklund et al., 2011). It is widely acknowledged that the Entre/SME field remains dominated by functionalist methods that neglect to illustrate to the research community the social nature of the research field. If the field of Entre/SME inquiry is to prosper further, it needs to be approached from a more critical perspective, as opposed to the accepted functionalist ideologically driven perspective which currently dominates so many studies, (Blackburn and Brush, 2008; Leitch, et al., 2009). This is not to suggest that either quantitative or qualitative perspectives are good or bad, we are suggesting that there is something missing which current functionalist approaches are not illustrating, some questions simply cannot be posed when undertaking quantitative research. It is this very issue which we seek to address by asking the question 1Cwhat can qualitative methods offer to us?

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