College of Business: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Establishing the Baseline: Entrepreneurial Database Collects Research Across Disciplines


11/11/2005

As one of the leading research institutions in the country, the University of Illinois is known for its ground-breaking technology. At the Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership, such innovation has taken the form of a new entrepreneurial research database. The database is the brainchild of the Academy’s Director for Research and Information Services, Cynthia Kehoe, and its purpose is to serve as a portal for research literature in the field of entrepreneurship.

Cynthia KehoeThe idea for the database evolved from study on entrepreneurship research that Kehoe conducted with Academy Director Paul Magelli. She used their research to draft a proposal to the E. Marion Kauffman Foundation for assistance with the development of the search engine. The primary reason for starting the database was to help scholars locate entrepreneurial information that is widely scattered across many different disciplines. “One of the components of quality research is that it builds on prior research,” Kehoe said. The concentration of this research into one space is what makes the database a useful tool.

The database is comprised of a collection of various books, articles, reports, dissertations and conference papers drawn from different disciplines. The University is responsible for gathering content, which is then housed on the Kauffman Foundation’s server. Kehoe and her team employ a number of methods to find the best information. “To find individual articles, we monitor individual journals and alert services, conduct web searches, and mine any relevant resource,” she said. They also consult experts in the field to find out which articles have the most relevance and will be most useful to clients.

The first records were entered into the database in January, and it has been online since April. Though established to serve academics interested in tenure-track careers in entrepreneurship, the database is also accessible to the general public. Interested parties can log on by going to research.kauffman.org and clicking on Research Database in the left margin. Registration is not required to search the database, but due to copyright laws, only abstracts are retrievable. Kehoe says that long-term goals include offering a subscription-based service for the purpose of paying royalties to publishers so that people can obtain full-text articles. There will also be an option to register for the benefits of customizable features, like the ability to prioritize articles of particular interest and have alerts sent to a personal e-mail address when new information emerges.

Kehoe is excited about the portal’s potential and is looking forward to its expansion. “By providing better access, the database may help to strengthen research in the field on entrepreneurship and will also inform people about the diversity of research available,” she said.

–Rosalyn Yates

UIUC College of Business