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A comprehensive view of trust in education: Conclusions from a systematic literature review

Niedlich, Sebastian; Kallfaß, Annika; Pohle, Silvana; Bormann, Inka

Trust is considered to be a crucial element of social cohesion. At the same time, as research has shown, education can be understood as an important precondition of trust. Furthermore, contextual conditions are important for the development of trust. In spite of this, the role of trust in the multi‐level education system has been scarcely investigated. This paper introduces a comprehensive model of trust in the education system, based on a systematic literature review of 183 recent peer‐reviewed articles following a thematic and interpretive review approach. The suggested model consists of four interconnected elements (generalised trust, educational governance, educational settings, educational attainment). By introducing a comprehensive model of trust in multi‐level education systems the paper aims at opening up perspectives for future theoretically driven, interdisciplinary comparative research that may shed further light on the role of trust in education systems. The paper proceeds as follows. First, trust is discussed as a complex subject in research, policy and practice in multi‐level education systems, and key research questions are derived from this. Second, the methodology of the systematic literature review is explained. Third, results from the literature review are presented, focusing on three domains of trust and their interrelations. Fourth, the comprehensive model of trust in multi‐level education systems is introduced. The fifth section discusses the findings and explores how future research could advance a comprehensive understanding of trust in education.
Published in: Review of Education, 10.1002/rev3.3239, Wiley

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