The papers will be assessed generically on originality, significance and rigour. The editor is guided by the UK Research Excellence Framework ( www.ref.ac.uk ) in applying generic definitions of originality, significance and rigour:
Originality refers to the innovative character of the research output. Research outputs which demonstrate originality may: engage with new and/or complex problems; develop innovative research methods, methodologies and analytical techniques; provide new empirical material; and/or advance theory or the analysis of doctrine, policy or practice.
Significance refers to the development of the intellectual agenda of the field and may be theoretical, methodological and/or substantive. Due weight will be given to potential as well as actual significance, especially where the output is very recent.
Rigour refers to the intellectual precision, robustness and appropriateness of the concepts, analyses, theories and methodologies deployed within a research output. It also includes qualities such as the integrity, coherence and consistency of arguments and analysis, and consideration of ethical issues.
Detailed criteria based on these three generic standards are described as follows:
In assessing a paper, reviewers should look for contribution important new knowledge, ideas, methods, techniques, evaluation of policy and practice which will have the potential to make a widespread and lasting influence on the community of scholars interested in African business and entrepreneurship. This may include
- Imaginative Theory Led Research (not D): Imaginative originality in developing new approaches, concepts, ideas, techniques and applications. These may be theoretical or draw on rigorous empirical exploratory research. Though based on African business and entrepreneurship research, the paper has significant relevance to the research community beyond Africa.
- Discovery Led Empirical Research: Outstanding empirical discovery led research conducted with high standards of rigour designed to enhance understanding of complex socio-economic contexts and problems of Africans in business. Rigorous empirical papers of this type need not be theory driven, or even specifically lead immediately and directly to new theoretical developments. However, the new insights and understanding that emerge are of a standard capable of influencing others to rethink their approaches, theories and models. Although grounded empirical discovery led research of this type is expected to be mainly qualitative, including ethnographic, it may also be based on or mixed with exploratory quantitative research such as surveys. Discovery led longitudinal research is especially welcome.
- Methodological Research: Research on developing methods which address problems which present special difficulties to African researchers of business and entrepreneurship. For example, these may include translation problems, obtaining adequate random sampling of small businesses; overcoming mistrust of researchers; the influence of the illicit economy and so on.
- Cumulative Addition to Existing Models: Building on existing knowledge cumulatively but in an important and significant research area, and conducted in an exceptionally rigorous research design and with intellectual precision.
- Major Consortium Research: Reporting on and disseminating findings from a highly significant multi-user or consortium data set in a manner that critically addresses significant issues of African business and entrepreneurship.
- Literature Reviews: Conducting a critical review of previous research literature, using the latest rigorous methods of reviewing and analysing literature, which will provide an up to date and useful resource for scholars of the business and entrepreneurship research community. Such reviews will usually not be confined to African literature, but can be used to bring to the attention to African scholar’s research areas which have great potential to enhance the development of African scholarship in the research areas of interest.
- Policy and Practitioner Research: Research addressing issues of limited academic theoretical interest, but high generic as well as specific significance to policy makers and practitioners. These may include programme evaluations, policy evaluations, and impact and feasibility studies, policy reviews. To qualify as a premier paper the research must not only have to be conducted at very high standards of rigour, but also be capable of interesting and influencing policy makers and or practitioners across national and regional boundaries.
- Programmes and Evaluations: Papers describing and illustrating the development of original educational programmes or courses, or teaching techniques in entrepreneurship, and the problems and solutions experienced in developing and offering these programmes. While evaluation may form an element of the research, it is expected that the concept itself and its promise will be the main focus. The new programme must be capable of being of interest and capable of being potentially adopted in contexts wider than a single African country.
- Teaching case studies conducted to a high rigorous standard and of high potential relevance to educators throughout Africa.
The process illustrated in Figure 1.