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Editorial2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Anatomy of a qualitative methods section: embracing the researcher as an engaged author

Gaddefors, Johan; Cunningham, James


In this editorial, we explore the content of qualitative methods sections in one year of publications from Entrepreneurship & Regional Development (E&RD). We build a common anatomy of qualitative method work, exposing this to critique as we establish best practice and consider opportunities to enhance qualitative method writing. Our findings identify six common areas of focus in qualitative methods sections: arguing for qualitative and inductive 'fit'; defending the sample; data collection procedures; analysis work; substantiation of what is seen; and the use of tables. We problematize the observed tendency of viewing these areas through a post-positivist lens and propose complementary framings to encourage more engaged and reflexive authorship. The pursuit of interesting and thought-provoking qualitative work, which is at the same time methodologically rigorous, presents a challenging paradox for authors. We see this editorial as a navigational guide for authors and reviewers on what we should consider in methodological contributions. At its most powerful, qualitative research exposes tension, uncovers knowledge ambiguities, and offers potential for future perspectives. We argue that engaged authorship in qualitative work allows us to embrace a co-constructed approach to the knowledge of entrepreneurship, creating the opportunity for epistemological contributions which are both robust and courageous.


Qualitative methods; entrepreneurship; reflexivity; engaged author; methodology; epistemology

Published in

Entrepreneurship and Regional Development
2024, Volume: 36, number: 5-6, pages: 561-576 Publisher: ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Business Administration

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