In Yue Hu's "How Do Language Attitudes Affect Political Trust?," the inquiry focuses on determining whether using local dialect or official language creates more trust in government bureaucrats. Such a study would be helpful for guiding public policy decisions about what kind of language those hired for government positions should use. Hu explains that the study is not meant to measure people's attitudes toward dialect versus official language but to measure how they respond to each kind of language to determine which carries the most authority.
The methodology is that of an empirical social science study. The methodology does its best to be objective and scientific. For example, Hu carefully sets out how the study was conducted so that it can be replicated. Hu uses rigor in the study—for instance, to isolate responses to the language itself from other factors. To do so, Hu modified, for example, the "matched-guise" approach to language evaluation, in which a subject listens to the same instruction in two dialects, because that approach does not replicate real life: instead, he had people assigned to different groups and compared the responses of those who heard dialect with those who heard the official language, Putonghua.
Hu concluded from using rigorous empirical methods that official language conveys more authority and trust than dialect in a Chinese context. He believes this trend might prove true in other Asian countries and beyond.