Spatial Maps in Voting Advice Applications: The Case for Dynamic Scale Validation

Micha Germann, Fernando Mendez, Jonathan Wheatley, Uwe Serdült

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (SciVal)


Low-dimensional spatial representations of political preferences are a widespread feature of voting advice applications (VAAs). Currently, VAA spatial maps tend to be defined on the basis of a priori reasoning. This article argues that VAA spatial maps should be empirically validated to safeguard fundamental psychometric properties – in particular, unidimensionality and reliability. We suggest dynamic scale validation as a pragmatic method for improving measurement quality in VAA spatial maps. The basic logic of dynamic scale validation is to exploit early user data as a benchmark against which ex-ante defined maps can be evaluated. We draw on data from one of the most institutionalised VAA settings, Switzerland, to illustrate this dynamic approach to scale validation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-238
Number of pages25
JournalActa Politica
Issue number2
Early online date28 Feb 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015


  • voting advice applications
  • ideological space
  • dynamic scale validation
  • unidemnsionality
  • reliability


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