Information trust

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Information Trust

Identifying the trustworthiness of information sources during the coronavirus pandemic: Enhancing health engagement across the population

Our research project explores the reasons why people trust (or distrust) different sources of information about the coronavirus. Through a programme of primary qualitative and quantitative fieldwork in the United Kingdom and United States, the project explores people’s levels of trust in different information sources, and identifies which factors explain variations in trust and how individual and community location shapes the levels and determinants of source trust.

The project (which runs Nov 2021 – Mar 2022) is funded by the British Academy (for further details of the programme, see the sidebar), and involves researchers from three universities: Kent and Southampton in the UK and Michigan State in the US.

The project is designed to extend our awareness of how individuals appraise sources of information, facilitating the design of communication strategies that maximise public receptiveness to important information and guidance. It will also extend our understanding of how trust in different information sources is shaped by individuals’ community and social positions. The project therefore responds to the need to stimulate public engagement in preventive health programmes, and to design policy strategies to deliver more effective and socially equitable responses to future health crises.

The project’s outputs are available on the Output and News page.