The role of diagnostics as a means of engaged scholarship and enhancing SME research

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This paper explores the methodological challenges facing SME researchers through overdependence on quantitative methods. It proposes how a diagnostic-based form of engaged scholarship can enhance the portfolio of research tools and address existing deficits in current research methods by building on tools developed as part of a multi-determinant research process for exploring SME growth. The paper argues existing methods of SME research are insufficient to address their heterogeneous and context-dependent nature. New tools are therefore required to mitigate embedded shortcomings in terms of depth and breadth of understanding alongside impact for practice and for SMEs as active stakeholders in the research process. The design and implementation of diagnostic tools has the scope to address these deficits. The benefit of this paper is to outline an additional approach to SME research which addresses embedded issues in existing methods. It proposes a tool that addresses certain academic research challenges, but also integrates research more substantially with policy and SME requirements. In thus doing it makes a novel contribution to debates on how SME research is undertaken, to the development of methodological tools appropriate for dealing with the challenges of contemporary research, and to methodological approaches integrating research within wider networks and communities. </jats:p>
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2020


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