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An evaluation of two qualitative methods (focus group interviews and cognitive maps) for conducting research into entrepreneurial decision making

Hines, Tony (2000) An evaluation of two qualitative methods (focus group interviews and cognitive maps) for conducting research into entrepreneurial decision making. Qualitative market research, 3 (1). pp. 7-16. ISSN 1352-2752

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Abstract

Reports on a qualitative approach to conducting research in small firms. Two cases are reported that fall within the EU definition of small firms (with fewer than 99 employees). One case is drawn from the clothing industry and one other from the publishing industry. The clothing company had fewer than 50 employees and the publishing company had fewer than ten employees, the latter being regarded as a micro-firm. The purpose of the research was to investigate decisions taken by owner-managers in relation to their future strategies. Consideration is given to alternative methodological approaches before justifying the selection of a combination of focus group interviews and cognitive mapping in each of the cases. Comparisons are drawn that demonstrate the utility of the research methods chosen. The work then identifies issues and considers implications for the conduct of future research into SMEs using these methods. The purpose of the paper is to explain and to evaluate the usefulness of the methods rather than to explain the particular cases in detail.

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