Using Insider Action Research in the Study of Digital Entrepreneurial Processes: A Pragmatic Design Choice

Kisito Futonge, Dublin Institute of Technology

Document Type Article

The Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods Volume 15 Issue 2 2017, (pp85-98) available online at

An expansion of the conference paper presented at the 16th European Conference on Research Methodology


The field of entrepreneurship is yet to exhaust the gamut of qualitative design choices for use in researching the entrepreneurial process. For this reason, this paper proposes that insider action research (IAR), with its iterative, immersive and emergent form of inquiry, presents a pragmatic design choice for understanding the nature of uncertainty surrounding the digital entrepreneurial process. Since entrepreneurship in the digital context is a highly dynamic and fluid process, IAR appears well‑suited for use in researching the phenomenon. Yet, the paucity of its application in entrepreneurship research, and less so in the emerging digital space, is rather puzzling. Thus, using a real time case study of a new venture creation process in the e‑learning sector, this paper contributes by elucidating how this mode of inquiry might be set up and applied in digital entrepreneurship experimentation. Even though the longitudinal study at hand is still unfolding, the completion of two IAR cycles serves to demonstrate how a symbiotic interweaving of new venture creation and new knowledge production can provide the basis for extracting valuable insights about the digital entrepreneurial process.