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NOTE: Since 2009 the title of the International Journal of Entrepreneurship Education (IJEE) has been changed to the title above.  ISSN numbers: IJEE 1649-2269 and IRE 2009-2822

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ISSN Number: 2009-2822. Frequency: 4 Issues per year (online only)  

Article #1617 - A Review and Analysis of the Thematic Structure of Social Entrepreneurship Research: 1990-2018

IRE Vol 17: Issue 4, 2019, Pages 495-528

Author(s): Ajax Persaud (Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa, Canada) and Manoj Chandra Bayon (Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Cali, Colombia)

This article explores the dominant themes in social entrepreneurship (SE) research and whether the themes changed over a 28-year period (1990-2018). A text mining analysis, using Leximancer 4.5 software, of the most influential SE research studies was conducted to identify themes and trace changes over time. Our literature search process produced 101 articles, which were used in the analysis. The analysis was conducted over three time periods corresponding to three different phases of SE research. The nascent phase covers 1990-2002; the growth phase covers 2003-2010, and the maturity phase covers 2011-2018. This temporal analysis reveals that different themes emerged at the different phases. The dominant theme in the first phase focused on the social entrepreneur (individual level). The second phase focused heavily on the organisational level of SE and the third phase focused on institutional and contextual dimensions of social entrepreneurship. Overall, our analysis revealed four dominant themes in SE, namely (1) social entrepreneurs, individuals and communities, (2) organisation of SE, (3) innovation and value creation in SE, and (4) context of social entrepreneurship. Our study also reveals research gaps and avenues for future research.