Charting the Growth of Entrepreneurship: A Citation Analysis of FER Content, 1981–2008 (Management Project)

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This research analyses the authors, topics and institutions included in Frontiers Entrepreneurship Research and describes the inter relationships between contributing scholars. This research contributes to the continuing discussions about the nature  of entrepreneurship conducted by both entrepreneurship scholars and information scientists.

Using bibliometric techniques, this study analyses 3395 items from FER and describes the trends in authorship, institutional affiliation and subject focus. This research provides a clearer understanding of where entrepreneurship research takes place, and  the topical preferences within entrepreneurship as shown in FER. It also highlights the growing contributions of international authors and the nature of collaborative research within the field of entrepreneurship.


As an academic discipline, entrepreneurship is relatively young. Since the  first class offering in 1947, the field has seen impressive  growth. Cooper, Hornaday and Vesper (1997) discuss the early development of the field. Gartner and Vesper (1997) point out that in 1985 there were 253 college courses in entrepreneurship and in 1993 441 courses were available.

Katz’s (2003) history of entrepreneurship education in the United States estimated  that there are “more than 2200 courses at over 1600 colleges.” The Princeton Review (2011) listed more than 80 academic programs offering undergraduate majors in entrepreneurship.


The dataset for this project consisted of all items published in FER from 1981 to 2008 inclusive -a total of 3395 items. Each volume of FER includes a combination of full length articles, summaries of research and summaries of interactive presentations and poster sessions. Gregoire (2006) describes the growth of FER as a research vehicle [expand].

This research follows the method of Quinones-Vidal (2004), and Kirchler and Koch (2006) who studied interdisciplinary growth in the areas of social psychology and  economic psychology. Grégoire,  Noël,  Déry & Béchard’s (2006) co-citation analysis focused on trends in citations in FER articles.  This research uses data from the articles and summaries as the basis for analysis.


The results show that FER has grown tremendously as a vehicle for entrepreneurship research since its initial volume in 1981. The first volume contained 39 articles; the 2008 volume contained 200+ articles and summaries of research. From 1981 to 1984, FER only published full-length articles.

Starting in 1985, article summaries began to be included, and in 1994 poster sessions or interactive papers were added. All of the papers are presented at BCERC; authors of summaries are given more time to present and there is the expectation that a completed paper will be ready for the conference and for possible inclusion in the proceedings volume. Poster /interactive paper session are shorter with a more informal presentation format and are better suited for research that is in progress, although authors are encouraged to bring a finished manuscript if one is available.

Source: Iowa State University
Author: Jeffrey D. Kushkowski

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