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

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

The Handbook of Research Methods on Trust provides an authoritative in-depth consideration of quantitative and qualitative methods for empirical study of trust in the social sciences. As this topic has matured, a growing number of practical approaches and techniques has been utilised across the broad, multidisciplinary community of trust research, providing both insights and challenges. This unique Handbook draws together a wealth of research methods knowledge gained by trust researchers into one essential volume. The contributors examine different methodological issues and particular methods, as well as share their experiences of what works, what does not work, challenges and innovations.
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Chapter 11: Combining Card Sorts and In-depth Interviews

Mark N.K. Saunders


Mark N.K. Saunders INTRODUCTION Trust research invariably asks questions about sensitive issues, highlighting the need to build rapport and trust between the researcher and participant. It may also be necessary to ensure participants are not sensitized to the research focus on trust. This chapter outlines the use of a card sort, concurrent with an in-depth interview to help overcome these 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 the accuracy or interpretation of data collected (Dalton et al., 1997). Not surprisingly, this issue is recognized widely; most research methods texts emphasize the need to minimize such problems by ensuring the research topic is salient to the participant, explaining the benefits to her or him and emphasizing privacy and anonymity (for example Kvale and Brinkmann, 2009; Saunders et al., 2009b). Building on this and similar advice, research methods texts expound subsequently how,...

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