Thank you for your interest in this research project.

This information is designed to give you a brief overview of the research and to provide an opportunity to contact the researcher directly for further information. 

What is the research project called?

Self-employed Women in Low-Income Entrepreneurial Households.

Who is carrying out the research?

The research is undertaken by Sarah Brookes, a PhD student at Nottingham University Business School for the purpose of a PhD thesis. The thesis is under the supervision of Dr. Isobel O’Neil and Professor Susan Marlow.  

What is the research about? 

The main objective is to examine entrepreneurship in the context of the household. An entrepreneurial household has at least one resident self-employed person or business founder.

The thesis seeks to explore overlapping domestic and business activity. Drawing upon a gendered analysis, it focuses upon the experiences of self-employed women in low-income households. It is important to understand the challenges and/or opportunities created by self-employment that arise in households and how co-habiting people balance managing a business alongside running a household.   

What groups of people have been asked to take part, and why?

Households of interest are those which contain at least one self-employed woman living with others e.g., partner, husband, other family members etc . The household must have a household income of £18,840 or less (after household costs are deducted) or be experiencing signs of material deprivation because of low-income. This may be identified as struggling to afford essential resources (food or heating), inability to accumulate savings, or restricting activities such as annual holidays.

What will research participants be asked to do?

Semi-structured interviews predicted to last between 1-2 hours with participants who will include the self-employed person and other adults in the household. They will be asked to share their experiences of daily life.

Additionally, all participants will be asked to reflect on a range of themes related to self-employment and the household using a diary for 2 weeks which can be written, audio-recorded, or relayed over the phone to the researcher depending on personal preference and convenience. A brief follow-up interview will then be arranged to check understanding and for participants to offer any closing thoughts on the process.

What will happen to the information I provide? 

The interview audio will be recorded and securely stored only for the purpose of the stated research. The information gathered will remain confidential and participants will be referred to anonymously with pseudonyms.


Participants will be contributing information that provides valuable insights into the reality of self-employment in low-income households. These experiences need to be heard and understood. To thank participants for their time, a gift voucher to the value of £10 per person will be offered upon completion of the data collection.

Participation in this research is voluntary, and you may change your mind about being involved in the research at any time, and without giving a reason. This research has been reviewed and given favourable opinion by the Nottingham University Business School Research Ethics Committee.

To find out more, please contact Sarah Brookes using the form below: