Beyond young, highly educated males: A typology of VAA users

J. van de Pol, N. Kamoen, B. Holleman, C. de Vreese, A.P.M. Krouwel

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Voting Advice Applications (VAAs) are Web tools that are used to inform increasing numbers of voters during elections. This increasing usage indicates that VAAs fulfill voters’ needs, but what these needs are is unknown. Previous research has shown that such tools are primarily used by young males and highly educated citizens. This suggests that VAAs are generally used by citizens who are already well-informed about politics and may not need the assistance of a VAA to make voting decisions. To analyze the functions that VAAs have for their users, this study utilizes unique user data from a popular Dutch VAA to identify different user types according to their cognitive characteristics and motivations. A latent class analysis (LCA) resulted in three distinct user types that vary in efficacy, vote certainty, and interest: doubters, checkers, and seekers. Each group uses the VAA for different reasons at different points in time. Seekers’ use of VAAs increases as Election Day approaches; less efficacious and less certain voters are more likely to use the tool to become informed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-411
JournalJournal of Information Technology & Politics
Volume11
Issue number4
Early online date24 Sep 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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