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 12: Using mixed methods – combining card sorts and in-depth interviews

Mark N.K. Saunders


Trust research invariably asks questions about sensitive issues, highlighting the need to build rapport and trust between researcher and participant. It may also be necessary to ensure participants are not sensitized to the focus on trust. This chapter outlines the use of concurrent mixed methods, combining a card sort and in-depth interview, to help overcome such issues. The problem of obtaining valid and reliable information when asking questions about sensitive issues is not unique to trust research. Notwithstanding the problems associated with gaining access, or increased non-participation due to individuals expecting negative consequences, participants’ subsequent evasive answers or socially desirable responses can reduce the utility of data collected (Crowne and Marlowe, 1964). Participants’ concepts of what is sensitive are socially constructed and so what matters is whether a participant finds the research sensitive for whatever reason (Arksey and Knight, 1999). Where this occurs, participants may use their answers to protect themselves from potential harm or embarrassment, to present themselves in a positive light, or to please the researcher. This, in turn, may threaten accuracy or interpretation of data collected (Dalton et al., 1997).

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