Title: 'Neither agree, nor disagree': a critical analysis of the middle answer category in Voting Advice Applications

Authors: Aphrodite Baka; Lia Figgou; Vasiliki Triga

Addresses: School of Psychology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki 541 24, Greece ' School of Psychology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki 541 24, Greece ' Department of Communication and Internet Studies, Cyprus University of Technology, 30 Archibishop Kyprianou St., CY-3036, Lemesos, Cyprus

Abstract: This paper explores the meanings attributed to the middle category of a 5-point Likert scale that is commonly used by Voting Advice Applications (VAAs). Data was collected from 71 users of the VAA 'Helpmevote' (October 2010 for the Greek local elections), who were asked to justify their middle point answers. According to thematic analysis of the participants' answers, the middle points were used to convey lack of knowledge, but also dilemmas and rejection of the items' assumptions. Such findings address methodological issues related to the design of VAAs and set some goals for their future design.

Keywords: VAAs; voting advice applications; VAA design; methodological design; middle point answers; Likert scale; social psychology; e-democracy; electoral behaviour; electoral impact; election campaigning; internet; voting aid applications; electronic democracy; electoral campaigns; Helpmevote; Greece; local elections.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEG.2012.051306

International Journal of Electronic Governance, 2012 Vol.5 No.3/4, pp.244 - 263

Available online: 30 Dec 2012

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