Bots of Trust - An interdisciplinary discourse

This PhD project focuses on Conversational Agents and their role in user services in the public domain. Automated forms of communication have become increasingly common. This raises questions of relationship building, trust, forms of service use, and data ethics. 


The interdisciplinary study critically examines how citizens’ interactions with Conversational Agents shape trust in public organisations.


  • A critically review current and past research on trust and Conversational Agents through a critical-systematic literature review
  • Identifying trust markers in user interactions with Conversational Agents
  • Experimental research with users to explore different views and reactions to varying degrees of anthropomorphisation in CA designs
  • Insights into the role of Conversational Agents in the citizen journey 


01 January 2023 - 01 January 2027


Four studies aligned with trust dimensions will be conducted. These studies examine key trust concepts, identify trust markers in human-bot dialogues, conduct experiments centred on human-bot relationships, and investigate the role of CAs in the citizen journey through digital services.

HU researchers involved in the research

Related research groups

Collaboration with knowledge partners

The study has been recommended by the Municipality of Utrecht, YDigital & Infomedics.

Graduation project Chatbots and Voice assistants

During the Bots of Trust (BOT) research project, there is a possibility for collaboration with students on a related issue such as chatbots and/or voice assistants and how they shape trust in a variety of sectors.