Metaphor methodologies in entrepreneurship research

Dodd, Sarah Drakopoulou and de Koning, Alice; Neergaard, Helle and Leitch, Claire, eds. (2015) Metaphor methodologies in entrepreneurship research. In: Handbook of Qualitative Research Techniques and Analysis in Entrepreneurship. Research Handbooks in Business and Management series . Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd, pp. 185-188. ISBN 9781849809863 (

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In spite of their difference in approach, a number of common themes run through these three chapters, which, taken together, highlight the potential, the challenges, the limitations and quality assessment demands of metaphor methodologies for entrepreneurship research. In this short concluding section, we argue that metaphors act as a reminder of the necessity for scholarly self-reflection, as well as a means for carrying this out. We note that although coding schemes are presented throughout the section’s chapters, there is no real substitute for engaging with one’s own data directly. We argue that, complex and ambiguous though metaphors may be, their very versatility makes them uniquely ubiquitous, able to reach places other methods may not address. First, the value of metaphors in facilitating self-reflection is evident. Indeed, these chapters have illustrated that it is imperative for we entrepreneurship scholars to engage in such self-reflection. Which images and social constructions of the entrepreneur do we ourselves enact, embrace, develop and share? Such self-reflection is imperative when doing analysis and coding, since it is all too easy to fall prey to your own personal cognitive schemata, biases and learnt tendencies. Because metaphors are such slippery, ambiguous and complex tropes, constant auto-interrogation is demanded of the scholar in an attempt to avoid ‘reading into’ the data being explored.