Trust in E-Commerce (Research Proposal Example)

Literature Review

Eid, MF 2011, ‘Determinants of E-commerce customer satisfaction, trust, and loyalty in Saudi Arabia’, Journal of Electronic Commerce Research, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 78-93.

The article by Eid (2011) is authoritative due to its in-depth insight into the issue. Moreover, the scholar bases the research on previous studies in order to conduct a credible investigation. The quantity of secondary sources suffices for a wide-scale research. The ultimate focus is on B2C commerce and findings of the surveys developed and analyzed by the author; they reveal the relation between such key aspects as loyalty, satisfaction and trust of the customers. The outcomes demonstrate considerably poor level of trust among the customers of Arabian countries. Such key influential factors as quality of interface, perceived privacy and perceived security risk are considered to be the strongest elements that predetermine customers’ trust. The research outcomes also pertain to the degree of satisfaction and loyalty, which augments the scale and significance of the study by Eid (2011). Hence, the article expands the overall comprehension of the theme of research and contributes to a profound, thorough and reliable further study.

Gao, Y & Wu, X 2010, ‘A cognitive model of trust in E-commerce: evidence from a field study in China’, The Journal of Applied Business Research, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 37-44.

The article by Gao and Wu (2010) is authoritative due to its significant contribution to the empirical scope of research. The scholars not only conduct a consistent and efficient study related to China area, but also design a cognitive model of trust that is regarded to be an optimal one according to the research ramifications. In fact, it is crucial that the study covers such issues as further engagement of the customers in E-commerce, barriers to E-commerce as presented by the representatives of Chinese society, and reasons for the demonstration of preference to face-to-face commerce. The article broadens the scope of research, introduces important influential factors that should be taken into consideration while enhancing the trust in E-commerce sector, and delineates the model that can be employed by the contemporary business owners through the Internet. Furthermore, the research paper provides not only sheer statistics and factual data but also practical guidance for the stakeholders of E-commerce,.

Habibi, R & Hajati, Z 2015, ‘Trust in E-commerce’, International Journal of Innovation and Applied Studies, vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 917-922.

The article is the most recent one in the range of secondary sources used for the research. Moreover, Habibi and Hajati (2015) not only examine the concept of trust in terms of E-commerce, but also conduct an in-depth analysis of its dimensions and types. Moreover, it is important that the scholars explore the issue of formation of trust on the territory of Iran. Thus, the research covers the initial stage of trust formation since E-commerce is a comparatively new development in Iran. Hence, the most important and influential aspects are detected and discussed. As a result of such a constructive approach, Habibi and Hajati (2015) develop a strategic plan targeted to delineate the key steps in the process of building the trust. The scientists address one more crucial issue related to the topic, in particular, the ultimate significance of confidence in the course of E-commerce performance. Hence, the discussed article contributes both to theoretical and practical domains of the proposed study.


The close inspection and thorough analysis of the outlined articles result in a delineation of key perceptions of trust formation in E-commerce. To be more precise, one of the main valuable points that will serve as a background for further research is the correlation between the notions of trust and satisfaction of the customers (Eid 2011). In fact, it is vital not only to expand the trust to the E-resources in the scope of business, but also to provide all the necessary conditions that will contribute to purchasing activity and returning customers. Only in such a case, the trust that the customers develop may be sustainable and perspective. Therefore, the study of satisfaction domain is an essential aspect of holistic approach to the process of building the trust. Thus, Gao and Wu (2010) developed a cognitive model of trust in the E-commerce sector that will serve as a background for strategic development in the consequent research. Moreover, Habibi and Hajati (2015) made a significant contribution to the scope of the issue by outlining the initial stage of trust formation. Such outcomes will be used for the identification of the key constituent elements of customer trust at present time. Finally, it is important that every study covers different location in order to guarantee maximal objectivity of the study.

Contemporary researchers regard trust to be one of the most challenging and crucial aspects that predetermine the degree of effectiveness and perspective of E-commerce sector at present time. The ultimate significance of the notion of trust in the scope of Internet commerce is related to the tendency of increasing demand for online shopping and dramatic expansion of the virtual marketplace. Such a tendency is predetermined by convenience, strategic approaches, and quick satisfaction of the customers’ needs. Nonetheless, the level of quality is a questionable aspect that became a cornerstone in the context of delineated dominance of E-trade in the worldwide context. One more challenging factor is the credibility of warranty provided by E-traders. The aspects that predetermine the perception of quality, reliability of the web resources are diverse. Hence, it is vital to identify the sources that contribute to trust formation and consequent purchasing activity. As a consequence, the research will also study the potential adjustment of customer satisfaction and continuous guarantee of purchasing activity.

The focus of the presented research proposal is centered on the phenomenon of trust in modern E-commerce sector.

Research questions of the proposal are the following:

  • Is trust a dominant factor that predetermines purchasing activity of the clients?
  • What are the key determining factors of trust in E-commerce?
  • What are the main stages of trust formation at present time?

Actually, it is vital to identify the variables with regard to constantly developing Internet space, new technological challenges and wishes, demands, and preferences of the customer audience. Furthermore, it is important to base the research on credible sources that provide a holistic vision of the current level of trust concerning purchasing activity on the Internet. Furthermore, it is recommended to involve different strata of society into the research.

The research proposal relies on thorough study of the secondary sources. Ten credible and authoritative works in the field of interest are studied and analyzed. The time period for the selection of secondary sources is 2009-2015. Eid (2011) positions trust to be equal to satisfaction and loyalty that predetermine power in purchasing activity. The outcomes demonstrate considerably poor level of trust among the customers of Arabian countries. Such key influential factors as quality of interface, perceived privacy and perceived security risk are considered to be the strongest elements that predetermine customer trust. Chellapa (n.d.) underlines the ultimate significance of perceived privacy and security in terms of trust formation. Such an approach delineates the key aspects that need improvement in the field of trust formation. Ray (2011) highlights potential challenges in intercultural E-commerce in the context of trust. Thus, this data will be utilized with the purpose of development of a strategic approach that relies on potential claims and expectations of the client audience. Gao and Wu (2010) developed a constructive multidimensional cognitive model of trust. The model provides an in-depth insight into the issue in terms of customer demand, expectations, satisfaction and probability of returning clients. Habibi and Hajati (2015) explore the major dimensions and types of the notion of trust in the context of E-commerce. Furthermore, a detailed outline of the constituent elements that influence the initial formation of clients’ trust to new E-resources will also be employed for the ultimate goal of the proposed research.

Further studies that will be involved in the preliminary research of secondary sources are the research papers by Kim and Benbasat (2009), Yao and Li (2009), Vincent and Agbola (2012). These works were chosen due to the relevance and empirical value for the given proposal. To be more precise, a new conceptual trust model developed by Vincent and Agbola (2012) will be used to expand the vision provided by the model constructed by Gao and Wu (2010). The research presented by Kim and Bensabat (2009) delineates the significance and influence of such important factors as price, content and source of trust formation and overall attitudes of the customer audience. The significance of the study by Yao and Li (2009) is based on the authenticity of the prism of research as the scholars employed game theory in the canvas of exploration. Furthermore, the study by Franco (2013) will be incorporated in the course of the research as a background for the analysis of the level of customer trust of the current E-commerce resources, and the work by Jones and Leonard (2014) will be reviewed in order to expand the scope of factors that may predetermine the degree of trust of clients.

The quantitative research approach is chosen for the proposed study. The research objectives require precise and factual data that may be presented as statistics to confirm the validity of the study and serve as a background for the development of empirically relevant strategy. The hypothesis of the proposed study is the following: trust is a dominant factor that predetermines the purchasing activity of the clients. The null hypothesis is the following: trust is not a dominant factor that predetermines the purchasing activity of the clients. Both dependent and independent variables will be employed in the study. The level of trust is a dependent variable, while content, price, perceived security, quality of interface, perceived privacy, and excellence of service are the independent variables. Furthermore, the satisfaction will be examined in the course of a study as an additional variable. The questionnaire will be incorporated as a key instrument in the research. Survey activity aims at acquiring data for further analysis. To be more precise, both primary and secondary sources will be used in order to acquire data in the proposed research course. The scope of the secondary sources will comprise ten authoritative, credible and reliable studies published during the period 2009-2015 that pertain to the key aspects of the topic of research.

The process of investigation and analysis will involve such stages as literature review, survey course, and statistical analysis, in particular, “multiple response” method. Survey questionnaire will consist of 22 questions. Both close-ended and open-ended questions will be employed in order to guarantee the most holistic and detailed approach. In fact, there will be three blocks of questions in accordance with the outlined research questions. The statistical method chosen for the research is “multiple response” tool. Such a choice is justified by the relevance of the tool in terms of the goals of the proposed research and efficiency of the expected outcomes that will be accurate, properly structured and comprehensive.

The participants of the research should reflect a sufficient scale in order to provide validity and objectivity of the study. Hence, the quantity of 250 participants is recommended. The sample selection will be random, and will rely on the subscribers of ten popular E-commerce resources. The permission to use e-mail addresses needs to be acquired. The invitations should be prepared in order to inform the participants about the main purpose of the study and the terms of participation. If the recipient of the invitation is willing to partake, he/ she will be asked to click the link and complete the survey online. The responses will be delivered to the researcher’s e-mail for further analysis. Afterwards, the statistical method of “multiple response” will be applied. The structure of the final outcomes should be accurate and constructive. Finally, the outcomes will be employed to develop and justify the strategy aimed at building and enhancing the overall level of trust in E-commerce sector.

Presentation of the findings will be conducted in several steps. The terms of the research course will be presented in the beginning.

The first step will require demonstration of the final ramifications acquired by the means of “multiple response” tool. In fact, they will be presented in tables and graphs in order to support the course of discussion visually.

The second step will involve delineation of the key influential factors that influence the trust. The delineation will be presented in the form of hierarchy that will reflect the primary and secondary determinants of trust formation. Both reasons and potential ramifications of each factor that predetermines trust building will be addressed in comments.

The third step will cover the designed efficient strategy targeted to enhance the trust of the customer audience. Both theoretical background and empirical implementations will be outlined.

Finally, a set of recommendations will be provided in order to outline the ultimate improvements needed for E-commerce sector.

Furthermore, the directions for further research and overall practical value of the study results will be presented. The presentation will be formatted accordingly.

In fact, it is also vital to emphasize the ultimate ethical issues related to the present research proposal. The principles of voluntary participation, anonymity, and confidentiality of the acquired data build the guidance for the study. In addition, it is relevant to identify potential drawbacks and problems the researchers may face during investigation.

  • The first challenge is the reluctance of E-commerce resources to cooperate under the terms of the research proposal.
  • The second challenge is connected to the high probability that e-mail invitations will be forwarded to the Spam folder.
  • The third serious drawback is related to the fact that the respondents may provide incomplete surveys and false or irrelevant information.

These problems should be accounted for and the probability of false data should be taken into consideration as a potential error of the study.