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 second year of the funding period, we processed and evaluated the data collected in the previous year. The focus was on comparing different question formats for measuring generalised trust with regard to their measurement equivalence. Furthermore, we applied and compared analysis methods for open text answers from the field of machine learning. A paper on the central results is currently under review for publication. Furthermore, we conducted a pretest (N=100) to compare text and audio data. This pretest will be repeated in a revised version in a main study.

Fact sheet

2018 to 2024
Data Sources: 
Survey Data
Geographic Space: