On 29nd September, 2022 Inga Gaižauskaitė will defed her doctoral dissertation entitled ‚Advancing Trust Research: Linking Conceptual Definitions, Standard Measures and the Perceptions of Social Actors‘.

Scientific supervisor:
Chief Researcher Dr. Diana Janušauskienė (Lithuanian Centre for Social Sciences, Social Sciences, Sociology, S 005).

The dissertation will be defended at the Council of Sociology Science of Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuanian Centre for Social Sciences and Kaunas University of Technology:

Chairman:
Prof. Dr. Audronė Telešienė (Kaunas University of Technology, Social Sciences, Sociology, S 005).

Members:

  • Chief Researcher Dr. Vladimiras Gaidys (Lithuanian Centre for Social Sciences, Social Sciences, Sociology, S 005)
  • Dr. Vylius Leonavičius (Vytautas Magnus University, Social Sciences, Sociology, S 005)
  • Chief Researcher Dr. Andrius Marcinkevičius (Lithuanian Centre for Social Sciences, Social Sciences, Sociology, S 005)
  • Chief Researcher Dr. Violetta Anna Parutis (University of Essex, United Kingdom, Social Sciences, Sociology, S 005)


The doctoral thesis will be defended in the public meeting of the Committee of Sociology at 1:00 p. m. on 29 September 2022 in the Conference Hall of Lithuanian Centre for Social Sciences.
Address: A. Goštauto str. 9, Vilnius, Lithuania.


Annotation of Doctoral Dissertation

This doctoral dissertation explores methodological issues of trust research in the context of democracy. Trust is considered a necessary social resource in complex modern societies. The literature emphasises the importance of trust for the functioning of a democratic system, while at the same time observing for decades the lack of trust in people and/or institutions in some democracies. While the concept of trust is described as multidimensional and a variety of methods can be used to research trust, studies focusing on the levels of trust in democratic societies have typically relied on survey-type measures of trust. Two main forms of trust (social generalised trust and trust in political institutions) and corresponding standard measures dominate. These measures have remained almost unchanged since the development of national and international comparative research programmes starting around 1950. This dissertation contributes to the efforts of other authors to critically assess the methodological validity of these standard measures of trust and the extent to which there is a consistent transfer from the conceptualisation of trust to its operationalisation and interpretation in the researched social reality. Without discounting the value of the quantitative data that has been accumulated over decade, it is observed that the existing standard measures of trust only partially meet the methodological requirements of good (valid and reliable) measures, thus there is a need to look for alternatives or to adjust existing measures to consistently meet the framework of a particular theoretical approach and to assure that there is good correspondence between interpretations of the social actors (the potential respondents) and interpretations intended by the researchers. Moreover, a more extensive application of qualitative methodology to research trust in the context of democracy can both contribute to a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of trust  and the advancement of quantitative trust measures.