Dr David Higgins, University of Liverpool

Dr Catherine Brentnall, Manchester Metropolitan University

Professor Pauric McGowan, Ulster University

ISBE2023 will see the second year of the new RMPI – Research Methods, Practice and Inquiry/Impact – track. This track aims to be a space to energise discussion and innovate thinking and practice around how we inquire, in order to develop the skills, confidence and impact of researchers and the ISBE community. This track encompasses all aspects of the entrepreneurship/small business research spectrum, and all related issues such as education, training, business support, teaching and learning. In relation to this year’s conference theme, the track welcomes attempt to explore and exemplify modes of inquiry, methodological strategies and methods which supports research and impact for the betterment of the social and ecological context we find ourselves.  More broadly, in this track contributors can also consider how their research methods and practice and modes of inquiry can create positive impact, challenge what has come before and illuminate ways forward.

Overall, the aim of this track is to –

  • stimulate discussion and explore challenges around current and new approaches to inquiry…
  • share and develop research approaches and advance knowledge….
  • develop researchers’ skills and confidence to pursue impactful research…

The track welcomes and encourages papers from a variety of perspectives/disciplines in order to challenge and innovate mainstream methods, practices and theories within the entrepreneurship, small business and all related sub-fields.

Specifically, the track invites participants to develop (but does not limit itself to):

  • contributions to current cutting-edge methodological debates going beyond describing the research process but to critically engage with methodological issues and concerns as they relate to doing social research.
  • Reflect on the purposefulness/appropriateness of specific approaches to provide robust arguments in relation to a particular method or methodology.
  • Critically review new and innovative methodological approaches and data collection methods and research design alternatives.
  • Critique aspects of quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods of data collection and analysis.
  • Review the wide variety of epistemological and ontological positions and their use of different theories and logics in any entrepreneurship/SME discipline
  • promote positive impacts for scholarship and practitioners utilising different languages when conversing with research populations and audiences.
  • facilitate the expression of ‘the voice’ of those normally excluded from entrepreneurship/SME research.
  • Develop format of findings to meet the needs of different audiences, coping with practitioner approaches in academe including research quality audits and journal lists,
  • define and promote positive impacts – through establishing partnerships with non-academic partners as well as creating purposeful and exciting arenas for disseminating the knowledge produced by scholars beyond the academic milieu.

The track offers an opportunity to gain insight and inspiration about (and challenge) research practice and methods in a supportive space.  We are particularly interested, given the climate and ecological context the conference theme relates to, how contributors may consider how RMPI dimensions can be encapsulated into the conference theme in a thoughtful, creative, or perhaps radical way.