Popular complaints against authorities:
what remains beyond quantitative measurement
N. P. Ogarev Mordovia State University, Saransk, Russia firstname.lastname@example.org
N. P. Ogarev Mordovia State University, Saransk, Russia email@example.com
The article criticises quantitative methods’ in investigating population’s complaints against authorities, analyzes results of qualitative interviews conducted by the authors, and proposes to increase reliability of quantitative data. On the basis of own practice and that of leading sociological centers’ authors analyze some methodological errors arising in appliance of certain sociological questions and measurement scales. It is proved that quantitative studies in Russia predictably demonstrate a high acuteness and wide range of socio-economic complaints; against this background other problems of relations between authorities and society pale into insignificance. Presenting results of their research, authors focus on the issues which are not directly related to the socio-economic situation in the country. These problems include: lack of Russian development program which is clear to the entire society; shortage of direct dialogue between leaders, politicians, deputies and population; complaints against moral and professional standing of authorities. Accordingly, authors suggest a way to increase credibility of public opinion polls on political topics – to integrate the qualitative methods with the quantitative ones. Qualitative surveys contribute to a more liberal expression of different points of view, increase sincerity of responses, help to develop quantitative tools that would adequately reflect the whole spectrum of opinions. The authors emphasize necessity to take into account problems identified in the surveys on effectiveness of state authorities and local self-government. This research shows that socio-economic complaints are insufficient for explaining population’s attitude to authorities of a country, region or municipality.