What is smartwielen? How does smartwielen work?
Smartwielen is a questionnaire tool developed to explore how its users’ views align with those of political parties and candidates running in the 2018 general elections. Smartwielen gives users access to first-hand information collected from political parties and candidates. It allows users not only to reflect on their own political positions, but also to learn about the views and political programmes of the parties and candidates. Furthermore, it allows them to find out which of the parties and candidates correspond best to their own political profile. In 2009 and 2013, researchers at the University of Luxembourg ran the same project under the name smartvote.lu. The questionnaire includes 43 questions that cover a broad spectrum of political issues. The questions are answered by candidates and parties as well as users. The results are based on the 43 questions and show differences and similarities between the positions of the political parties and/or candidates and the users of the site. It is important to note, that the goal of smartwielen is not to encourage users to vote in a certain way, but rather to invite them to seek out more information. To learn more about how smartwielen works, watch our presentation: https://prezi.com/view/teumeWjuq0rFWEIJf315/.
How was the questionnaire developed?
The main criteria for the selection of questions are:
- they are concerned with the current political issues in Luxembourg;
- they are concerned with the current political issues in Europe;
- they originate from the programs of political parties and/or from consultations with journalists, civil society and interest groups;
- they do not favor one or more political party(s);
- they do not allow for multiple interpretations;
- they have a general or specific character (a mixture of both types of questions is desired);
- they deal with only one subject;
- they fit the design of the smartspider. For more information, see the methodology.
How are the candidates’ and parties’ positions determined?
The candidates and parties answer the smartwielen questionnaire, which includes 43 questions on a wide range of current policy issues, some weeks before the election. By doing so they generate their political profile at www.smartwielen.lu.
How are the results calculated?
On the smartwielen website users answer the exact same questionnaire that candidates and parties have already answered. Smartwielen compares their answers with those of the candidates or parties by calculating the Euclidean distance (the straight-line distance between two-points in a multidimensional space). As a result, smartwielen presents each user with a specific ranking of all of the participating candidates or parties. Those candidates or parties with the best matching are ranked at the top of the list. The more questions a user answers, the more precise their voting advice will be. For more information, see the methodology.
How should I interpret the matching score?
The results are based on a geometric matching. Therefore, the value cannot be considered directly as a proportion of the questions in which a user r is absolutely in agreement with the answers of a candidate. Therefore, a match of 70% does not mean that a candidate has given the exact same answers as the user for 70% of the questions. For more information, see the methodology.
How does weighting answers effect my results?
Users have the opportunity to weight their answers, which will be considered when calculating their results. This allows users to indicate which topics are more or less important to them. If a user gives a question a plus sign, then it the answer counts twice in the calculation of the matching results (+ = 2). If a user gives a question a minus sign, it counts as if the answer were half as important (- = 0.5). For more information, see the methodology.
I filled out smartwielen a few weeks ago, how can I find my old results?
The answers that a user gives are saved on the computer's local storage. As long as the user does not delete the local storage, the user can revise their results at any time.
How can I interpret the smartspider? How is the smartspider calculated?
The smartspider graphic visualizes the strength of the candidate or parties' values and political positions based on six thematic axes. For each policy area, a value between 100 and 0 can be achieved. A value of 100 stands for strong agreement with the formulated goal of the corresponding axis. A value of 0 stands for no agreement with the formulated goal. For more information, see the methodology.
How can I interpret the smartmap? How is the smartmap calculated?
The smartmap visualizes similarities of the political profiles of the candidates or parties. The closer the points marking the candidates' positions are to one another, the more similar the candidates' political profiles are (i.e., their answers to the smartwielen questionnaire). Please note, that because of the fixed quadratic shape of the smartmap, conclusions about the statistical relevance of the two dimensions based on the height or width of the map are not valid. For more information, see the methodology.
Why are some candidates and parties not included in the platform? Why are there no answers for some parties and candidates?
We contacted all parties and candidates (via the parties) ahead of the launching of the tool and asked if they were interested in participating. All parties and candidates that agreed are included in the website. However, not all parties and candidates have completed and confirmed the questionnaire.
What happens to my answers in the user survey?
The answers given in the user survey are anonymous and will not affect the results. They will be used by the University of Luxembourg for research purposes. For more information, please contact us via email@example.com.
Is smartwielen associated with any specific political parties, candidates, etc.?
No, all organisations involved in the development and operation of smartwielen (e.g., the University of Luxembourg, Zentrum fir politesch Bildung and smartvote/Politools) are non-partisan and non-profit organizations.