|Chapter title||Learning from longitudinal research into women's experience of business ownership|
This paper describes a research project in which the careers of a sample of women business owners in a variety of business sectors were tracked in a series of three interviewing phases between 1995 and 2006.
Longitudinal research in the field of women’s business ownership is extremely rare. Previous longitudinal studies that have been conducted have taken place over much shorter periods of time or have used statistical, secondary data rather than qualitative methods.
The data captured in the first interviews include motivations to go into business, previous work experience, domestic responsibilities, business financing, business problems and employment policies. A typology was constructed according to the women’s attachment to their businesses and to other activities.
The second and third interviews focus on changes in a number of areas. Learning from this data includes correction of erroneous data, new perspectives on aspects described in the first interviews, the developments that had taken place, and a greater understanding of issues that had arisen in the first interviews. Reforming of groups in the typology demonstrates that the experience of individuals may change but that the overall experience of women business owners within this study remains constant.
Despite the impossibility of re-assembling the entire sample, longitudinal qualitative research offers the advantage of great opportunities to learn about the experiences of women business owners. This learning includes an understanding of the changes that take place in their businesses and what might provoke these. It also provides insights into what factors might lead to business survival and success. The deepening of the women’s own understanding of their situation over time and the improvement of the relationships between the researcher and the participants lead to the enrichment of the data with each subsequent wave of interviews.
|Book title||Proceedings of the European Conference on Research Methodology for Business and Management Studies (ECRM 2006), Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, 17-18 July 2006|
|Publisher||Academic Conferences and Publishing International|