Stemadvies via het Internet: Politiek begrip in een digitale informatiemaatschappij | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 39, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1573-9775
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1236



The central aim in our NWO ‘Comprehensible Language’ project (2012-2016) was to investigate to what extent Voting Advice Applications (VAAs) intentionally and unintentionally affect political knowledge and political attitudes. In this article, we present an overview of four years of research. First, we investigated reasons for use of VAAs, distinguishing three types of users: (well-informed, enjoying to check the VAA), (looking for political information to base their vote on) and (looking for information but cynical about politics). The proportions of these groups differ for first vs. second order elections. Second, we investigated whether VAAs increase users’ political knowledge. We found that users report an increase of internal efficacy due to their VAA use, but we did not find an increase in actual political knowledge. Third, a field experiment showed systematic effects of framing variation on the answers to VAA assertions, which might suggest different underlying knowledge representations. Finally, think aloud research showed that users experience considerable problems with understanding the assertions semantically and pragmatically, as well as with interpreting the results screen. Additionally, we found that users view the result screen as an end point rather than as a starting point for deliberation. We discuss some implications for theory and practice.


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