Research Questions and Hypotheses

Until the present day, no actions have been taken to systematically develop a valid, reliable, and generalizable multi-item scale to measure trust in eWOM. In awareness of this fact, the present study’s aim is to introduce and test a general measure of this construct. In order to achieve this thesis’ dedicated goals, thirteen research questions and fifteen hypotheses are presented to further assess the previously proposed conceptualization of trust in eWOM and operationalize it as a higher-order construct. Further, these questions and hypotheses target the evaluation of the measure’s key psychometric properties by testing for various types of validity (e.g., translation, criterion, nomological), reliability (e.g., test-retest reliability), and provide first insight into the new scale’s generalizability. Due to the complex nature of the construct, these assessments are guided by referring to well-acknowledged scale development standards (e.g., Churchill, 1979; Gerbing & Anderson, 1988; Netemeyer et al., 2003) but specifically draw on recent studies in the field of domain-specific trust-scale development (e.g., Soh, 2007). Additionally, the scale’s application as a valuable segmentation tool for online consumers should advert to the construct’s relevance for present communication challenges faced by companies (but also consumers) on the Internet. In order to address these key issues, the proposed research questions and hypotheses follow.

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