TRUST: Measurement and Explanation (TRUSTME)

Research question/goal: 

How can we measure individuals’ trust? How can we explain differences in trust between individuals? Despite decades of research, empirically grounded answers to these fundamental sociological questions are surprisingly unsatisfying. First, currently used measures were mostly devised in the 1960s, are rarely derived from a clear definition, and are increasingly questioned in terms of validity and reliability. Second, current practice in explaining empirical differences in trust is to correlate trust with other variables, such as education. However, such correlations provide only limited and indirect information on why certain individuals have more trust than others.

The aim of the project TRUSTME is to contribute to interdisciplinary research on trust and to develop a new set of trust measures. Moreover, the project explores individuals’ rationales for trusting on the basis of open-ended questions and quantitative text analysis. The idea is to investigate and measure the missing link between standard explanatory factors (e.g. education) and trust judgments. In doing so, the project builds on recent technological innovations in terms of data collection, data analysis, and survey measurement.

Current stage: 

In the third year of the project, the data for study 2 of the project was collected, in which we compare text and audio data. Study 2 is currently in the review process. Based on the promising results, we have conducted an additional study (Study 3) in which we specialize in political trust. The data for Study 3 has already been collected and aims to provide a detailed and high-quality survey of factors influencing general and political trust. We are currently investigating how trust judgments are made and whether they are only rational or also affective.

Fact sheet

2018 to 2024
Data Sources: 
Survey Data
Geographic Space: