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 24: It Takes a Community to Make a Difference: Evaluating Quality Procedures and Practices in Trust Research

Katinka M. Bijlsma-Frankema and Denise M. Rousseau


Katinka M. Bijlsma-Frankema and Denise M. Rousseau1 Empirical science is a collective quest for answers to questions directed to the resistant character of the given empirical world under study. One has to respect the obdurate character of that empirical world – this is indeed the cardinal principle of empirical science. Empirical science pursues its quest by devising images of the empirical world under study and by testing these images through exacting scrutiny of the empirical world. (Blumer, 1969: 21) INTRODUCTION Trust is a long-standing topic in the social and organizational sciences (Kramer and Tyler, 1996; Mayo, 1933). The wealth of research and commonality of understandings regarding what trust is and how it works implies a mature research domain (cf. Rousseau et al., 1998). Yet, the ‘proof ’ of trust’s maturity is less than evident in the quality, accumulation, and convergence of its research findings and their interpretation. The goal of this chapter is to prompt more systematic attention to the quality and accumulation of evidence and understandings regarding trust. This goal is motivated by the recent attention paid to the gap between organization sciences and management practice, and the plea for greater quality connections between research and practice. To accomplish this goal, we evaluate how principles and procedures promoting research quality apply to the actual practices of trust scholars. The quotation by Herbert Blumer which serves as this chapter’s epigraphy highlights two of the key challenges: (1) a continuous focus on scrutinizing the relation between the empirical world and the theoretical...

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