Handbook of Research Methods on Trust
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Handbook of Research Methods on Trust

Second Edition

Edited by Fergus Lyon, Guido Möllering and Mark N.K. Saunders

With the growing interest in trust in the social sciences, this second edition of the Handbook of Research Methods on Trust provides a fully updated and extended account of quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods for empirical research. While many researchers have already drawn inspiration and insight from the previous edition, the dynamic development of trust research calls for further and deeper engagement with methodological issues, particular methods, practical research experience, and current challenges and innovations as offered by this new edition.
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Chapter 9: Access and non-probability sampling in qualitative research on trust

Fergus Lyon


Qualitative research on trust is frequently of a sensitive nature. The ability to access informants and build close relationships while ensuring validity therefore becomes a crucial factor. This chapter shows how accessing participants in trust research requires that researchers understand how trust is built and maintained in their own work. Qualitative approaches present particular challenges both in terms of the actual practicalities of collecting research material and gaining access to informants or respondents who are willing to participate in the research. Sampling and access varies with different approaches used by researchers depending on the types of data being collected. This chapter shows the close interrelationship between issues of access and sampling in much in-depth trust research. There are also context-specific issues raised depending on the sector of research (such as health services, manufacturing or other services), types of trust relationships being investigated (inter-organisational, intra-organisational), and whether the research is looking at specific trust relationships between individuals or more generalised trust in institutions or professions. This chapter will only be looking at access and non-probability sampling issues in research on trust relationships between individuals as other types of trust research are addressed elsewhere in the book.

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