This article calls for a discussion about business history research. We advocate that the current typical approach in business history – dominantly case study analysis – maintains its prominent position, but the purpose and relevance of this type of research in the scientific method for business history is made more explicit. Moreover, the article proposes the application of additional approaches in business history, which specifically aim to develop theory and test hypotheses. These approaches are well established in the social sciences, but require adaptation to the particular needs of business history. The purpose of this article is to argue that opportunities for scientific explanations in business history are enhanced by engagement with the circle of knowledge creation where theory is confronted with empirical evidence and empirical observations feed back into theory formation.