Improving entrepreneurial research methodology: When research design fails


  • Autumn Sadie O'Connor Australian College of Applied Psychology
  • Vicki Hutton Australian College of Applied Psychology



entrepreneurs, sampling hard-to-reach populations, response rates, recruitment, student research, failure


The diverse endeavours undertaken by entrepreneurs have the potential to positively impact communities, and yet this population appears notoriously difficult to recruit for research. This paper reflects on declining research participation, particularly noted in top executives and the entrepreneurial community; and introduces a Master’s dissertation study which failed to recruit significant numbers of entrepreneurs for quantitative research purposes.  While ‘failed’ research may lack allure, it does provide valuable learning insights for students undertaking new research projects.  Quite apart from not repeating past mistakes, outlining research challenges may assist students to develop more creative and robust projects.  As such, this paper highlights two significant points regarding barriers to recruiting amongst entrepreneurs. First, we present evidence that entrepreneurs are often over-worked and time poor, and this impacts on their research participation; secondly, we highlight how entrepreneurs respond differently to research activities, and hereby, we offer some recommendations for improved research design.


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Author Biographies

Autumn Sadie O'Connor, Australian College of Applied Psychology

Autumn S. O’Connor is a recent graduate of the Master in Counselling and Psychotherapy from the Australian College of Applied Psychology. Her research interests include ethics, applied philosophy, and relational dynamics.

Vicki Hutton, Australian College of Applied Psychology

Dr Vicki Hutton’s career started in community mental health, before moving into research and teaching. Her research interests include quality of life, stigma and aspects of organisational psychology, while her teaching areas of specialisation include mental health and ethics.  



How to Cite

O’Connor, A. S., & Hutton, V. (2018). Improving entrepreneurial research methodology: When research design fails. Journal of Student Research, 6(2), 61-65.



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