Title: The practicalities of issuing vote advice: a new methodology for profiling and matching

Authors: André Krouwel; Thomas Vitiello; Matthew Wall

Addresses: Kieskompas, P.O. Box 75622, 1070 AP Amsterdam, The Netherlands ' Sabanci Universitesi - FASS 2090, Orhanl?-Tuzla 34956, Istanbul, Turkey ' College of Arts and Humanities, Swansea University, Singleton Park, Swansea, SA2 8PP Wales, UK

Abstract: What methods are used and what methodological issues are involved when Vote Advice Applications (VAAs) compare voter and party policy stances? This paper examines these questions by describing a newly developed methodology to code party positions on salient political issues, combing expert-judgements based on text analysis with self-placement of parties. This paper also reflects on methodologies used by VAA developers to identify salient issues and discusses how these issues are reframed into statements to which users of these online tools are asked to respond, as well as how relevant party documentation is identified and how these textual sources are used to calibrate political parties on the issues. Finally, the paper outlines some of the methodological problems that occur when scientists seek to aggregate voters' opinions into an easy-to-understand output representing their position in a political landscape relative to the policy positions of competing parties.

Keywords: voter engagement applications; party profiling; party positions; political issues; vote choice; voters; citizens; methodology; text analysis; political parties; social cleavages; voting advice applications; VAAs; VAA design; e-democracy; national elections; electoral behaviour; electoral impact; election campaigning; internet; voting aid applications; electronic democracy; electoral campaigns.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEG.2012.051308

International Journal of Electronic Governance, 2012 Vol.5 No.3/4, pp.223 - 243

Received: 31 Jan 2012
Accepted: 19 Sep 2012

Published online: 04 Jan 2013 *

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