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Anatomy of a qualitative methods section: embracing the researcher as an engaged author.

Gaddefors, Johan; Cunningham, James


Johan Gaddefors


In this editorial, we explore the content of qualitative methods sections in one year of publications from Entrepreneurship and Regional Development (E&RD). We build a common anatomy of qualitative method work, exposing this to critique as we establish best practice and consider opportunities to enhance qualitative method writing. Our findings identify six common areas of focus in qualitative methods sections: arguing for qualitative and inductive 'fit'; defending the sample; data collection procedures; analysis work; substantiation of what is seen; and the use of tables. We problematize the observed tendency of viewing these areas through a post-positivist lens and propose complementary framings to encourage more engaged and reflexive authorship. The pursuit of interesting and thought-provoking qualitative work, which is at the same time methodologically rigorous, presents a challenging paradox for authors. We see this editorial as a navigational guide for authors and reviewers on what we should consider in methodological contributions. At its most powerful, qualitative research exposes tension, uncovers knowledge ambiguities, and offers potential for future perspectives. We argue that engaged authorship in qualitative work allows us to embrace a co-constructed approach to the knowledge of entrepreneurship, creating the opportunity for epistemological contributions which are both robust and courageous.


GADDEFORS, J. and CUNNINGHAM, J. 2024. Anatomy of a qualitative methods section: embracing the researcher as an engaged author. Entrepreneurship and regional development [online], Latest Articles. Available from:

Journal Article Type Editorial
Acceptance Date Feb 1, 2024
Online Publication Date Feb 14, 2024
Deposit Date Feb 16, 2024
Publicly Available Date Aug 15, 2025
Journal Entrepreneurship and regional development
Print ISSN 0898-5626
Electronic ISSN 1464-5114
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Qualitative methods; Entrepreneurship; Reflexivity; Engaged author; Methodology; Epistemology
Public URL