DeVOTE research is both scientifically and practically relevant.
Scientifically, DeVOTE sets out a new direction of research, aiming to capture and categorize the different meanings citizens may (or may not) have of voting, study their systematic variation, and on this basis contribute to the public understanding of elections. A such, it provides brand new evidence on citizen views that can challenge long-standing conclusions in political science about political participation and electoral behaviour, in political psychology about people understanding of and competence with politics, and in political communication about how election narratives structure citizen views.
The project has also practical implications on how elections are run and administrated. First, because DeVOTE analyses how citizen meanings relate to their visions of elections and preferences on electoral reforms. Second, because the broad geographical scope of DeVOTE, spanning both consolidated and non-consolidated democracies, offers an unparalleled insight into the legitimizing qualities of elections and afford the opportunity to study under what conditions citizens perceive election choices to be meaningful. Third, the election observatory that will be created during the runtime of the project has an unprecedented political significance since it provides a resource containing information about the meanings given to elections by citizens themselves that can be used as a basis to refine and challenge the constructed interpretations commonly assigned to elections by the media and politicians.
To realize its agenda, DeVOTE innovates both in data collection - combining a unique citizen-science website and open-ended enquiry with panel data and survey experiments -, and in data analysis - combining an inductively generated categorization of voting meanings with deductively driven hypotheses testing.
See below to find out more about the project's aims and objectives, learn about the project's work packages, and other research activities!
DeVOTE aims to provide first time evidence on what voting means for ordinary citizens and examine the variations of the ‘meanings’ between individuals and across types of democracies.
The project consists of four work packages (WPs):