Taking stock of small business and entrepreneurship research

  • Ritchie B
  • Lam W
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Purpose – To map and evaluate current research and policy evidence from a major conference against the seven strategic themes published in the UK's Small Business Service policy document; draw conclusions concerning the research underpinning; and provide guidance for the future direction of research. Design/methodology/approach – Evidence is presented from an analysis of 180 papers and research presentations combined with expert opinions and perspectives from participants at the 28th Annual Institute of Small Business and Entrepreneurship Conference in November 2005. The evaluation framework is formulated on the seven themes and includes an analysis of the research methods employed. Findings – Rapid growth evidenced in volume and diversity in small business and entrepreneurship research activity. The international community of researchers is growing with a greater preparedness to share findings and experiences. The engagement of more policy makers, advisors and practitioners together with researchers may improve the utility and effectiveness of research in terms of policy development and the communication of best practice. Research limitations/implications – A wide-ranging definition of research is employed, i.e. incorporating the more usual refereed papers but also working papers, practitioner papers and outcomes from the debates in plenary sessions and tracks. The evidence does, however, provide a snapshot of the research in the field, encompassing a significant proportion of ongoing work. Practical implications – Researchers need to utilize more effectively prior research to inform their own research and more effort is needed to integrate existing research within the relevant theme or field, both nationally and internationally. Originality/value – This represents a unique study which takes a snapshot of the current research in the SME field, incorporating the work of researchers, policy makers and practitioners. © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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  • B. Ritchie

  • W. Lam

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