Small business research portal:

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research

ISSN: 1355-2554

Article publication date: 1 April 2000



Deakins, P.D. (2000), "Small business research portal:", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. 6 No. 2.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

Small business research portal:

Small business research portal:

Conducting research via the Internet is becoming more popular and easier with an increasing number of sources of information directly available on the World Wide Web. However, the downside of this is that navigating around different sites and searching for current "state of the art" knowledge on entrepreneurship and small firms is becoming increasingly more time consuming. There are major sites sometimes located in the well known universities or in government departments such as the small administration in the USA, but moving beyond the well known sites and searching for more specific information can be both time consuming and sometimes fruitless. Knowing which Web sites are likely to be just "shop windows" and which can contain information of value is something that is becoming increasingly important.

Fortunately, there are sites designed to help small business researchers, busy academics and professionals to navigate and locate sites of central interest. One site that serves such a purpose is the small business research portal at It provides a useful classification of sources of information using a listing of sources and Web sites under specific headings such as academics; books; centres; conferences and call for papers; institutions; mega-sites; message boards; news and finally publications off the Web. Constructed by Dr Lew Perren at Brighton University it provides a very comprehensive search facility with brief information on different sites.

This site claims to help the small business researcher find relevant information and not waste time with irrelevancies produced through search engines. Perren, for example, claims that entering "small business" into a search engine is likely to produce over 500,000 pages of information! The site claims to cut through the confusion to provide access to helpful (to the researcher) Internet sites across the world. Dr Perren claims that the site is being continually updated (November 1999) and further development of such a site would certainly add a useful source to both academics and professionals.

The categorisation adopted by Perren is a useful way of searching for existing resources and research; however, the value of these categories is somewhat variable. For example, the section on books is just a straight catalogue listing from on its listing of books in a further categorisation such as education, entrepreneurship, small firms and others. Given that the site has been relatively recently constructed (1999) there may be improvements to follow, but nevertheless, any site that helps to navigate the increasingly crowded source materials on the Web is to be welcome as the site claims it provides "productive Internet exploration without the frustration."

Professor David DeakinsPERC, University of Paisley

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