Entrepreneurship Service: Data, Conferences, Books, & more!
Entrepreneurship research requires tools and resources that equip scholars to analyze data, form and test hypotheses, propose new theories, and thus contribute to the creation of new knowledge. Students new to this field typically start by learning management and entrepreneurship theory, research methods and statistics, and the basics of psychology and sociology. Soon, they start exploring the hundreds of thousands of research papers related to entrepreneurship with the intent to zoom in on those most relevant to their area of interest.
Books for Entrepreneurship Scholars
Nevertheless, books are the obvious starting point for novice researchers. Students and scholars of entrepreneurship refer to books that talk about methods of learning, teaching, and researching the field and not conducting the practice of entrepreneurship itself. Of course, there is an enormous set of books by practitioners for practitioners – these tend to be popular in the startup ecosystem and often originate from the technology / Silicon Valley ecosystem.
However, in the context of entrepreneurship books, it is those written by academic scholars that are most relevant – for empirical research as well as theorizing. Often, these are compilations of research papers, further edited with care into seamless ‘books’ on topics such as entrepreneurial cognition, family businesses, international entrepreneurship, pedagogies & learning environments, entrepreneurial university, etc. Edward-Elgar, Routledge (Taylor and Francis), and Springer Verlag are the most common publishers of such ‘book series’.
Interestingly, there are some books written specifically for entrepreneurship scholars – probably the most famous of which are authored by Dean A. Shepherd, University of Notre Dame. These talk about career paths, challenges of an academic career, entrepreneurship research themes of the future, navigating the peer-review publication process, etc.
Entrepreneurship Resources: Software
While books are a great starting point for scholars keen to learn and gain insights into entrepreneurship education and research, equally important is the ability to use research tools specifically, software packages. These include:
- Paper and publication search tools such as ResearchGate, Google Scholar, SSRN, etc.
- Spreadsheet software such as Microsoft Excel, LibreOffice Calc, etc.
- Document storage and sharing software such as Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.
- Survey tools such as Qualtrics, SurveyMonkey, etc.
- Visualization tools such as Tableau, RAWGraphs, Apache Superset, etc.
- Statistical analysis programs such as R, Stata, SAS, SPSS, etc.
- Programming languages such as Python, Perl, PHP, etc.
- Word processing software such as Word, Scrivener, LaTex, etc.
- Grammar checking tools such as Grammarly, WhiteSmoke, etc.
- Plagiarism detection tools such as Turnitin, Unicheck, etc.
- Citation analysis tools such as Scite, Connected Papers, etc.
Next in the list of important entrepreneurship resources are the databases and datasets that enable empirical research. These include public as well as private sources of entrepreneurship data. The most popular public databases are those by national governments such as the MIDUS survey in the US which is a rich compilation of longitudinal data about the personal and professional lives of Americans.
Doctoral Data Dilemma
It turns out that PhD students in entrepreneurship spend a large fraction of their time gathering, cleaning, and analyzing data. Such data may be compiled from secondary research or gathered via primary means such as surveys, field observations, and interviews. Either way, much effort is required to ensure that the data can support statistical analysis, i.e., the sample size is large enough, the variables of interest are accurately captured, there is minimal redundancy and missing information, etc. Moreover, the iterative nature of academic research implies that scholars may have to re-gather the data if their hypotheses could not be successfully tested or they missed out on some factors that would have played a crucial role in theorizing.
Thus, large, publicly available databases such as MIDUS are the bedrock on which robust, reliable, and repeatable academic research can be conducted. By providing a range of qualitative and quantitative variables, that too for large samples of the population, such datasets enable doctoral students to unearth novel relationships between the individual or team ‘inputs’ and venture ‘outcomes’ as well as mediators thereof. Of course, scholars have to take the risk that such databases have already been studied extensively and thus may not enable novel, non-obvious, and useful analysis in the future.
The third type of resource for scholars is the one that enables interactions with the entrepreneurship research community at large, whose strength is estimated at over 5000. Conferences, symposia, seminars, workshops, and colloquia are the usual mechanisms for such peer engagement. The typical entrepreneurship conference is not only a venue for professional networking but also an opportunity for doctoral students and novice faculty to augment their publishing skills and progress their research.
The usual format of such conferences is two to three days of keynote speeches, panel discussions, paper presentations, student workshops, and networking breaks. They tend to select a theme each year, e.g., social entrepreneurship, minority entrepreneurs, academic entrepreneurship, psychology of entrepreneurial leaders, the pedagogy of entrepreneurship, etc. Of the dozens of such events organized worldwide each year, probably the longest-running is the Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference (BCERC), first held way back in 1981!
Some conferences invite venture investors, corporate executives, policy-makers, business consultants, industry analysts, and the like in an attempt to bring fresh perspectives on the practice of entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship. Others tend to restrict attendance to students and scholars from select institutions, possibly with the intent to form a close-knit community of scholars who can openly share their ongoing research and seek candid feedback in a trusted environment.
Thus, books, software tools, databases, and events are the broad category of resources tracked here to help entrepreneurship students, scholars, and faculty.