The use of secondary data in social entrepreneurship research: Assessing the field and identifying future opportunities

David Gras, Todd W. Moss, G. T. Lumpkin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Entry/PoemChapter

12 Scopus citations


Purpose - The purpose of this study is to assess the current prevalence of empirical research in the field of social entrepreneurship. Further, we identify secondary datasets and explain their relative strengths and weaknesses for use by social entrepreneurship scholars. Methods - The authors conducted a search of academic articles in the EBSCO and ProQuest databases mentioning social entrepreneurship, social venture(s), social enterprise(s), or social entrepreneur(s) in the title, abstract, or keywords published from 2009 to 2013. Papers were coded and analyzed based upon the nature of their methods. Findings - We find that while qualitative studies are still the norm, quantitative methods are increasing, thanks to the creation of large-scale datasets and the use of analysis techniques new to the field. Three such large-scale datasets - the PSED II, GEM, and nonprofit tax collections - are discussed in depth. We find several strengths and weaknesses for each dataset, yet each provides social entrepreneurship scholars with fruitful opportunities. Value of chapter - Through a deeper understanding of empirical research and sources of social entrepreneurship data, scholars may be more attracted to social entrepreneurship, better equipped to conduct high-quality research and publish in high-quality outlets. Moreover, by moving beyond case studies and small-sample research to engaging larger pools of subjects and producing more generalizable findings, social entrepreneurship scholars will have the ability to impact a much broader scope of practitioners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSocial Entrepreneurship and Research Methods
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages27
ISBN (Print)9781784411428
StatePublished - 2014

Publication series

NameResearch Methodology in Strategy and Management
ISSN (Print)1479-8387


  • Datasets
  • Secondary data
  • Social entrepreneurship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management


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