This article takes a close look at two important theories concerning the effects that online party campaigning has on party competition. The equalization and normalization theories are tested for systematic logical dependence on conditions present in existing studies within the research field. The conditions are country-specific contextual settings and study-specific methodology. The method of qualitative comparative analysis is used, such that variable based reasoning can be applied in the low n case study. The main result of the analysis is that findings of normalization are mostly dependent on offline conditions - electoral settings in particular - being favourable to major parties. Concerning findings of equalization, an online media environment favourable to minor parties, compared to the offline environment proved important. Through a meta-analytical approach, the article brings important information to light on how scholarly interpretations of the two theories have been constructed.
- electoral competition
- party websites
- qualitative comparative analysis