Between the number and the word: quantitative methods in business history revisited




bibliometric, quantitative, business history, economic history, methods, citations


This article extends our earlier analysis (2010) to gauge, first, to what extent quantitative methods have been used in recent business history research and, second, the impact that quantitative methods may have had on the citations of business history articles. We used data from the two premier journals in the field (Business History and Business History Review) of the last 20 years. We found that the quantitative content has not increased in relative terms recently in these journals, yet it has in absolute terms. However, at the same time more sophisticated statistical methods have been used more frequently also in business historical research. Contrary to our earlier results, quantitative methods no longer have an easily discernible impact on citation patterns, yet the explicit use of theories seems to have increased the appeal of such scholarship. The unclear impact on citations may be due, at least in part, to a time lag in interdisciplinary knowledge networks. We also argue that the growing impact of economics and economic history, global and comparative history, and digital big data methods will necessitate more use of quantitative methods in the future, with citation impacts becoming observable only in the coming decades.


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How to Cite

Eloranta, Jari, Jari Ojala, Heli Valtonen, and Eetu Poso. 2023. “Between the Number and the Word: Quantitative Methods in Business History Revisited”. Revista De Historia Industrial — Industrial History Review 32 (88):19-48.