Edited by Fergus Lyon, Guido Möllering and Mark N.K. Saunders
Chapter 10: Working with difficult to reach groups: a ‘building blocks’ approach to researching trust in communities
This chapter looks at conducting qualitative trust research within communities. It highlights some of the problems this type of research can throw up for the researcher, and proposes a ‘building blocks’ approach which is designed to examine the factors likely to promote or hinder the building of trust as individual components. This chapter is based on my experience conducting qualitative trust research in a community setting in Stoke on Trent, UK, between 2004 and 2006. The purpose of the research was to propose a model for improved and more trusting relations between the settled host community in the City and new arrivals, primarily asylum seekers, and to use the findings to draw lessons for building trust across different cultures more generally. Qualitative community research on trust is rare. Most research on trust is conducted through surveys, or through the analysis of large-scale surveys that incorporate trust questions, or those that can act as proxies, within them. Trust is also investigated through socio-psychological experiments, but during my research I did not come across any study where qualitative research was used in communities to investigate the components or causalities of trust. The only real qualitative example I came across was the inclusion of the opportunity for respondents to ‘think aloud’ which was added to the Economic Incentive, Values and Subjective Well-Being Pilot Survey conducted in Detroit and Baltimore and reported in Uslaner (2002: Ch. 4).
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