Comment by Associate Professor of Sociology of Law at the European University, Kirill Titaev:
There are two groups of problems that can cast doubt on the results of empirical social research. The first is an incorrect tool (unrepresentative or inadequate samples, poor questionnaires, etc.). In this case, the authors have done everything possible to make their study as correct and accurate as possible for a qualitative study. However, phrases such as "counterarguments of moderators" (p.127) in the text raise some questions.
The second stage is interpretation, which has two major problems. The first problem is the ambition of the task that the authors set themselves. When they write about "the average person being far from the image of a responsible citizen" (p.133), they are aiming for large-scale generalization. Phrases about "older age groups," "participants of older age more often," etc., also demonstrate attempts to identify links between socio-structural factors and opinions. Qualitative methods are not suited to this, even on large samples. Individual examples of coincidence with reality (such as the study by Dmitriev and Belanovsky, referred to by the authors) do not change the general rule. Qualitative methods, when it comes to beliefs rather than everyday practices, allow us to understand the internal logic of a particular narrative or discussion (thanks to focus groups).