2.5 Research validity

According to the hermeneutics, the interpretation of interviews is not without preconceptions. It is not fully possible to interpret correctly participants’ thoughts as well as the information received might be biased for some reasons. For example, the fear of exposure of sensitive information might lead informants to omit relevant information, perhaps as a part of a new unimplemented strategy or to disclose information that does not affect the “open” approach, rather their business that is several cases is at the first step. To decrease these natural biases and fulfil the quality requirements of the case studies, the analysis is supported by external detailed information gathered on the internet, such as OSH platforms, companies’ websites, web reviews, and article in specialized magazines which allowed for the exploration of the company’s business model and its evolution over time.  In addition, the active participation in online communities (e.g. Arduino, DIY Drones and Instructables) supported the mapping of the study, not only in the pre-selection phase of companies, but also in the validation information received during the interviews. Regarding the sampling, the popularity of the cases, along with their participation in the first OH Summit, a unique event in this context, ensured that selected companies have high reliability. In addition, some of those are cases were showed by Massimo Banzi during his teaching seminars, to show how Arduino empowers users. Another criteria that ensure the credibility of the sample used is the inclusion of some of the company in the “One Million Dollar Baby” talk already presented in the introduction section, in which the speakers describe the business opportunities presented in OSH showing how thirteen of the new and established ventures build profitable businesses. Finally, the choice of multiple case studies guarantees high confidence in the overall results, thus the findings can be considered very robust. The examination of a quite high number of firms enhances the accuracy, validity and reliability of the results by capturing the holistic essence the subject that has been studied. A possible biased problem could be raised in the data collecting method, given that it was not possible to use the same tool for all the interviews. Nevertheless, given the real world study context in which the research in being part, the best alternative were used in order to decrease any possible biased, raising the trustworthiness of the results given that the interaction made by email and/or instant messaging like Skype gave the same level of reliability as in the case of personal phone interviews.  In few cases the informants did not reply properly to the questions or they just missed some information, nevertheless the informants were contacted again for further explanation. Thus the tools, although different, seems not showing biased results. 

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