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Institutionalisation of Political Parties: Comparative Cases. Edited by Robert Harmel and Lars G. Svasand

Advancing Research on Voting Advice Applications – Studying Issue Voting, Party/Candidates Positioning and Democratic Representation

Cyber Politics
Party Manifestos
Section Number
Section Chair
Stefan Marschall
Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf
Section Co-Chair
Diego Garzia
University of Lucerne

Voting Advice Applications [VAAs] are online tools designed to help voters comparing their policy preferences on major issues with the respective positions of political parties/candidates. As a result these tools indicate the issue proximity between the individual voters and parties/candidates. In Europe and in other countries these popular tools have been widely used for elections on different levels and of different actors (parliaments, presidents).

In the last years, VAAs have become an established field of social science research resulting in national projects, publications and networking resulting in the formation of an ECPR Research Network in 2015. Recently, the study of VAAs has been significantly advanced especially in terms of the data VAA research draws on and the methodological designs that have been applied to understand the role of these tools in representative democracies. Moreover, there is an increasing number of studies using VAA data for addressing a broad spectrum of question not all of them directly related to the making of these tools.

The Section addresses these new developments and is a follow-up to the successful VAA sections in Bordeaux (2013) and in Glasgow (2014) and in Montreal (2015) each of which saw about 20 papers and 30 authors attending. This time the focus will be set on bridging VAA research to general questions of political science. As mentioned above, VAA research has started to be linked to other areas of political research such as party and electoral research or democratic theory. The Panels of the Section should provide a platform to exchange the findings of VAA research with research from other fields of political science.

Prof. Dr. Stefan Marschall is a full professor of political science and Chair of German Politics at the University of Düsseldorf/Germany. He is a specialist on political (online) communication and comparative as well as transnational parliamentarism. He serves as one of the organizers and convenors of the ECPR Research Group on Voting Advice Applications, co-editor (with Diego Garzia) of “Matching Voters with Parties and Candi-dates: Voting Advice Applications in a Comparative Perspective” (published 2014 with ECPR Press) and responsible for the research on the German VAA “Wahl-O-Mat”.

Dr. Diego Garzia is currently a Research Fellow at the European University Institute. He has authored articles in journals such as Electoral Studies, Political Psychology, Party Politics, Political Research Quarterly and West European Politics. He is one of the organizers and convenors of the ECPR Research Group on Voting Advice Applications, co-editor (with Stefan Marschall) of “Matching Voters with Parties and Candidates: Vot-ing Advice Applications in a Comparative Perspective” (published 2014 with ECPR Press).

Panel List

Code Title Details
P139Exploring Party Positions in the Third Millennium. Expert Surveys, Manifesto Studies and Voting Advice Applications View Panel Details
P462Voting Advice Applications and Empirical Democratic Theory: Effects on Political Interest, Knowledge, Participation and Electoral Choice View Panel Details
P463Voting Advice Applications and Multi-Level Representation: Dimensionality, Issue Congruence and the Representative Deficit View Panel Details
P464Voting Advice Applications and Party Positioning. Measuring Policy Positions of Parties and Intra-Party Cohesiveness View Panel Details
P465Voting Advice Applications and Public Opinion Research Online View Panel Details
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