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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 #1638 - Challenges in Researching SMEs in Developing Countries: Two Fieldwork Experiences from Libya and Morocco

IRE Vol 18: Issue 4, 2020

Author(s): Abdulaziz M. Abdulsaleh (Griffith University, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia) and Yassine Sefiani (University of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham, UK)

The increasing recognition of SMEsí role in economic growth necessitates the need for academic research into understanding this sector. However, academic work on how to research SMEs, especially in developing countries, is scarce. This has limited the further development of literature in this area. This paper reflects on the experiences of two doctoral students engaged in SME research in developing countries, namely Libya and Morocco. The paper presents the authorsí experiences with special focus on the fieldwork stage from which some lessons and practical guidance are shared. Drawing on their experiences, the authors promote a more informal casual approach when going in the field and recruiting firms through snowball sampling. Moreover, to achieve high response rates, researchers should use a drop and collect method that allows personal interaction with participants to distribute the questionnaire. Working as a team with well-trained assistants would be a wise decision. It is hoped that the content of the paper would provide students and researchers embarking on SME research in developing contexts with beneficial guidance on the execution of their fieldwork. Researchers in this field are encouraged to share their experiences for more comprehensive understanding of this unique research arena in similar contexts and beyond.