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Researching entrepreneurship through phenomenological inquiry: philosophical and methodological issues

Research output: Working paper

  • J P Cope
Publication date2003
Place of PublicationLancaster University
PublisherInstitute for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Publication series

NameEntrepreneurship and Enterprise Development Working Paper Series


In recent years, the field of entrepreneurship has witnessed an emerging body of research that operates within an interpretive paradigm. In contributing to this research tradition, this article explicates an interpretive, phenomenological form of inquiry, described by Thompson et al (1989) as the 'phenomenological interview'. Particular attention is paid to the ontological and epistemological foundations of this approach, illustrating the evolution from philosophy to methodology. The article demonstrates how a phenomenological commitment to research translates into a set of issues that provide the methodological context for these in-depth, unstructured interviews. The application of this method is then demonstrated with reference to case study research that was conducted with six practising entrepreneurs, which utilised phenomenological interviews as the primary research tool. The article concludes with a discussion of some important caveats that surround the use of the phenomenological interview