Data Collection

Adult Population Survey

The GEM model is primarily based on an adult population survey (APS). Professional survey research firms in each country administer the adult population survey, which are based on a random sample of approximately 2,000 adults.

The main questions in the APS are identical in each country. For the purposes of the research, GEM uses a very comprehensive definition of entrepreneurship, which encompasses any type of entrepreneurial initiative, including self-employment.

Sampling procedures vary somewhat, but all of the survey firms are able to provide samples that are, when properly weighted, representative of the adult population in each country in terms of key demographics and geographical coverage. In Ireland the survey is confined to those aged 18 to 64 inclusive.

Telephone interviews are utilised in Ireland, as in most of the developed countries. In 2013 70% of the calls were placed to landlines and 30% to mobile phones. As GEM concentrates on the entrepreneurs themselves rather than their businesses the respondents are interviewed at home rather than in their workplace.

The manner of the running of APS across all countries is coordinated by Global Entrepreneurship Research Association (GERA) based in Babson College, USA. GERA also combines the outputs from the individual country surveys to produce a master dataset. The analysis and interpretation of this data at national level is the responsibility of the national team.

Key Informant Survey

Key informants are experts and entrepreneurs. At least 25% of the key informants are entrepreneurs. Expert informants are chosen by reputation and referrals to represent the nine entrepreneurial framework dimensions in the GEM model. These are Finance, Government Policies, Government Programmes, Education and Training, R&D Transfer, Commercial Infrastructure, Internal Market Openness, Physical Infrastructure and Culture and Social Norms.

The key informants are asked to complete a detailed questionnaire. The questionnaire used is identical in all countries involved in the survey. The questionnaire is similar to the adult population survey and also includes an additional range of topics relating to the entrepreneurial framework conditions, the entrepreneurial capacity and opportunity recognition perceptiveness of the adult population, as well as other socio-demographic items.

In Ireland, there are approximately 50 on the key informant panel and new members are added to the panel as required each year.