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J Empir Res Hum Res Ethics. 2018 Jul;13(3):285-294. doi: 10.1177/1556264618763253. Epub 2018 Mar 21.

Do Research Participants Trust Researchers or Their Institution?

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1 The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia.


Relationships of trust between research participants and researchers are often considered paramount to successful research; however, we know little about participants' perspectives. We examined whom research participants trusted when taking part in research. Using a qualitative approach, we interviewed 36 research participants, including eight Indigenous participants. Thematic analysis was used to analyze the data. This article focuses on findings related to non-Indigenous participants. In contrast to Indigenous participants, non-Indigenous participants placed their trust in research institutions because of their systems of research ethics, their reputation and prestige. Researchers working in non-Indigenous contexts need to be cognizant that the trust that participants place in them is closely connected with the trust that participants have in the institution.


Indigenous research ethics; institutional trust; research ethics; research participants

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